Porsche 901 is the first 911 as we know the famous Porsche model number today.
This is how the story goes ;
In 1963, Porsche presents the Porsche 901, so called the very first Porsche 911, at the IAA in Frankfurt as a successor to the Porsche 356.
The show was a great success and 901 attracts big attention at the show.
Porsche starts series production of the 901 in September 1964. Ferdinand Alexander Porsche was the one who created the 901 and the foundation for the success of the 911 today.
When Porsche unveils the first 901 at the Paris Motor Show in October 1964, the French car manufacturer, Peugeot objected to the model number 901.
The reason was because Peugeot said they had patented a three-digit model number with a zero in the middle which includes Porsche's 901 model number.
Why 911 but not any other model number?
When the objection comes from Peugeot, Porsche starts to think of alternatives to 901 model number.
According to the official Porsche video, Porsche had already ordered a batch of gold color metal 9s, 0s, and 1s to write the model number as badges, and they didn’t want to waste these metal numbers.
So Porsche changed the model number from “901” to “911" because they were able to write 911 with the metal badges that they had at hand.
However 82 units of the 901 cars were already manufactured before the model number changed as 911.
First Porsche 911
So first Porsche 911 was manufactured as 901 in year 1963 but bulk production started in 1964.
Above is a photo of 1963 Porsche 901.
901 designer, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche (Butzi) is posing proudly with his 901 in 1963.
First Porsche 911 was a 2 door fixed-head coupé with 2+2 seats. The weight was 1.080 kgs.
Engine was a 2 liter 1991 cm3, generating 130 PS power. It was "air cooled" and had "6 flat" cylinders.
Many years later, these 2 words became legendary jargon among Porsche lovers as "Flat Six" & "Air Cooled".
In 1963, Porsche 901 was reaching to 100 km/h in 9.1 seconds.