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The Porsche 911
By the mid-1950s, Porsche's groundbreaking 356 series rapidly approached its development limits and in particular, its air-cooled four-cylinder engine effectively limited Porsche's racing aspirations to class, but not overall, victories. The 356's eventual successor, internally code-named "Technical Project 7" or simply "T7," began with sketches by Ferdinand A. "Butzi" Porsche in 1959 predicting a larger, more comfortable and powerful successor model to the long-lived 356. Ferry Porsche developed the new car's chassis and body, while a new air-cooled, flat six-cylinder engine was designed, tested, and developed under his cousin Ferdinand Piech, utilizing the lessons learned on the track from Porsche's Formula One racing program. Riding on a slightly longer wheelbase, the new model clearly paid sylistic homage to its successful predecessor.
Testing commenced in November 1962 at Porsche's new Weissach facility, and the following September, the "901" debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show. A simple update heralded the Porsche's now-iconic "911" model designation. The sheer enormity of the T7 project delayed the 911's production until September 1964, bringing even the careful Porsche to the brink of bankruptcy. However, once finally released for public sale, the 911 went on to immense and enduring worldwide success on the road, track and showroom floor.
As confirmed by its accompanying certificate of authenticity, this Porsche 911 Coupe was completed on September 16, 1965. Finished in a Light Ivory exterior with black leatherette upholstery, it was factory-equipped with Phoenix 165/15 tires, a Webasto heater, and an electric sunroof.
That an electric sunroof was ever fitted to this 911, let alone any early first-generation 911, is in itself a good story. As related by noted Porsche author and historian Tobias Aichele, author of Porsche 911: Forever Young, “The sliding roof had long been on the sales department’s wish list, especially since no open version of the 901 could be offered to customers.
According to Mr. Aichele and another noted Porsche historian, Jurgen Lewandowski, who penned Porsche 901: The Roots of a Legend, 232 examples of the then-named 901 were built before production ceased on December 23, 1964. The first car for 1965 was completed on January 4, 1965, and thanks to forceful lobbying from Porsche’s sales department, the sliding-steel sunroof was eventually brought into 911 production with the first examples so-equipped entering production in June 1965. Consequently, this September-built 911 is one of the earliest cars of the series to have been factory-fitted with a sunroof.
A California car for most of its existence, this early sunroof-equipped 1965 Porsche 911 was the highly enjoyable daily driver of its prior owner for many years. After the owner eventually passed away, the car was sold by his estate to the consignor, under whom a painstaking three-year, nut-and-bolt restoration was performed to return this 911 to its factory- original condition. Virtually no possible expense was spared during the restoration process. While all generations and models of Porsche’s 911 are celebrated as objects of unbridled desire, astute collectors and marque enthusiasts have returned in force to the earliest examples of the 911. As 50th Anniversary celebrations honoring the 911 are in full swing, the early, short- wheelbase 911’s purity remains most captivating to die-hard Porschephiles.