As with many manufacturers, the Porsche name comes from a founding family. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr., established an independent design firm in 1931, which created the first Volkswagen Beetle, one of automotive history’s most successful and recognizable models.
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His son, Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche, Jr., helped grow the business, and in 1948 they released the first road-legal Porsche, the 356. It took two years to manufacture the first 50 Porsche 356s, but their notoriety grew exponentially from that point.
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In 1963, the 356 was replaced with the most famous of Porsche’s models, the 911. The first Porsche 911 for sale in the United States arrived in 1965 with a price tag of $6,500, the equivalent of approximately $48,900 today.
Since then, the marque has grown synonymous with high performance, while it has developed a reputation for providing some of the world’s finest cars. The 911, a model line still in production to this day, is recognized as one of the most successful competition cars ever. But there are quite a few other cars that the brand has created, and we would be remiss to not acknowledge them.
Below are our picks for the top 10 best Porsche models, in no particular order. Be sure to let us know in the comments if you think of another model that fits this list.
The 959 is a legendary supercar that was, back in 1986-89, well ahead of its time thanks to its technology. Many regard the 959 as being the forefather for modern day supercars. Either way, one cannot simply talk about Porsche’s history without mentioning the 959.
1967 911 Targa
1967 was the first year the Porsche 911 Targa was offered, introducing the world to the removable roof panel of the 911. It was built around the early 911 models, which are, to this day, some of the most brilliant Porsche has produced. The Targa spent some time in hibernation until 2014, when the original Targa top was reintroduced back into the market.
After the 959, Porsche held back from the supercar market. It wasn’t until 2004 that the Carrera GT rocked the world with its 5.7-liter V10 engine, and a design that will go down as one of the most aggressive from Porsche ever. The Carrera GT is able to reach a top speed of 205 mph and hit 0-60 mph in just 3.8 seconds.
The gap between the Carrera GT and 918 Spyder was much shorter than the 959 and Carrera GT’s, but the technological difference in the former is much more apparent. Being called a hybrid supercar, the 918 Spyder is a limited edition model that has pushed Porsche into the future. Its two electric motors and V8 engine produce a combined 887 hp, a leap above the Carrera GT and 959’s. While it may be fresh to the market now, the 918 Spyder is going to be a legend.
Porsche’s first wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans came in 1970 and 1971 at the hands of the 917 , a flat-12 engine race car. The 918 dominated many racing series, including the World Sportscar Championships, permanently making it one of the greatest racing Porsches of all time. Its incredibly fast speed made it incredibly famous (the 917/30 Can Am Variant shot from 0-62 mph in 3.2 seconds) and it even appeared in Steve McQueen’s Le Mans.
RUF CTR “Yellowbird”
While it may not technically be a Porsche model, it is based on the 911 and it will give its driver a white-knuckled experience like no other. Back in 1987, the CTR “Yellow” lapped the Nurburgring Nordschleife in just 8:05. Sure, that does seem like a crazy time when compared to the cars of today, but back then, it was a huge deal.
Officially dubbed the Carrera GTS due to a dispute with Peugeot over numeric names that used a “0” in the middle, the 904-6 was the last sports-racing version of the iconic 356. It was also the last full-competition Porsche easily able to be driven down the streets. Designed by the third Porsche bearing the name Ferdinand, this model stands as an historic monument in the marque’s lineup.
550 RS Spyder
Before the 911 and 917 racecars, there was the 550, a race car from the 1950s. It was styled after the 356 road car, but built for racing. During its time on the racing circuits, the 550 won around 95 overall wins with 75 class wins. Off of the track, the 550 made headlines as it was the car James Dean fatally crashed.
1975 911 Turbo 3.0 Coupe
Porsche found that the 911 was a hit and knew that they needed to keep it around. What better way to keep customers interested than to turbocharge the car? In 1975 the first turbo-charged Porsche hit the roads as the 911 Turbo 3.0 Coupe, which would end up being the fastest production car in Germany. What is there not to like about this car?
The 356 was the car that started it all off. Back in 1948, this was Porsche’s first production vehicle and it shaped the automaker’s iconic design for years to come. You can thank this car for every model you see on this list, because without it, this list might not exist.
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