Search for lists of the greatest sports cars of all time and nearly all will feature a Porsche 911. Since 1964, this rear engine, frog-eyed sports coupe has captured the hearts of the young and not so young. Whether you’ve been lucky enough to own one, or if you’re just a dreamer, the appeal is the same.
A Porsche 911 epitomizes performance and expensive lifestyles, but it’s an approachable car with humble roots. It was designed to function well on a track but also take you home in comfort. Unlike other high-flying sports cars, the 911’s relatively tame looks have stood the test of time with a silhouette that’s been carefully massaged over six decades into one of the world’s most recognizable cars, not only on the road but also on the big screen.
There are many variations of the 911, but the speedy Turbo is tops. Ever since it bowed in 1975, kids have been pinning posters of them on their bedroom walls.
A sultry and rare triple black 1994 911 Turbo 3.6 driven by Mike Lowrey (played by Will Smith) in the 1995 film “Bad Boys” was one the fastest cars of its time, outpacing a Shelby Cobra during the last scene in the movie. Its performance credentials are undeniable, but the Porsche failed to impress Mike’s partner Marcus Miles Burnett (Martin Lawrence) thanks mainly to the lack of a cup holder in the six-figure car.
The 2020 third entry in the series, “Bad Boys for Life,” featured another 911, this time a new Carrera 4S sliding around the streets of Miami in an adrenalin packed opening scene that’s come to define the franchise.,
From starring roles to famous owners, a Porsche has found a home in the garages of musicians and celebrities alike. Janis Joplin’s psychedelic 356 sold at auction in 2015 for $1.76 million dollars. Unlike other famous rock stars of the time, who typically bought the most expensive wheels they could find, Janis found her 356 on a used car lot in 1968 and bought it for $3,500.
She paid one of her roadies $500 to repaint it in a psychedelic theme. The finished product was titled “The History of the Universe.” Janis drove her colourful Porsche everywhere through the streets of San Francisco. Fans often recognized it and left her notes and gifts while it was parked.
The Porsche 356 was the 911’s predecessor, paving the way for all the generations that followed. Jerry Seinfeld has probably owned a few of each of those and then some. Known for having one of the most extensive and rare Porsche collections around, Seinfeld’s garage has a mystic allure behind it. Examples seem to only reveal themselves during public sightings, or ever so often on his show where he has coffee with a few of his very funny friends.
Some of his Porsches went up for auction at Amelia Island in 2016, with 17 being sold by Gooding and Co. for just over $22 million dollars. Of the many 911s that went to new homes that day, a stunning 911 Carrera 3.0 IROC RSR sold for $2.31 million. It was one of only 15 in the world.
Experiencing a 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S
One perk of this job is getting to drive new cars. Expensive ones included. I had the chance to sit behind the wheel of a chalk-coloured 2021 911 Turbo S for a few days. Its 640 hp flat-six behind the rear seats is capable of propelling it from rest to 100 kilometres per hour in well under three seconds. Independent tests have seen that figure as low as 2.2 seconds, making it one of the fastest accelerating cars on the planet.
The remarkable thing is its consistency and the ease at which that acceleration is possible. A Launch Control feature is available and activating it is as simple as holding down the brake pedal with your left foot and pushing the accelerator into the carpet with your right. Wait for the revs to build, let go of the brake, and then hold on. Time stands still, as you catapult forward with such force it feels like the wheels have left the ground. Pay attention to the speedometer to avoid landing into ticket territory, then exhale.