Best Porsche Models in History: TOP 10 of All-Time Greats

Porsche 356 1948

We’ll talk here about the best Porsche models in history, although of course, this opinion is subjective.

Everyone knows Porsche as a German automaker that specializes in high-performance sports cars, SUVs, and sedans. Today the company is a worldwide landmark famous for the creation of timeless functional designs and capable engines for racing. The brand performs near the top of all brands in dependability ratings.

Porsche is synonymous with racing. Its cars have won roughly 24,000 races around the world, including more than 50 class wins at Le Mans.

In addition to the well-known facts about the iconic brand, there are also little-known ones. In particular, Porsche built tractors, designed several engines for Harley-Davidson bikes, and a cockpit for the Airbus A300. The company is also the maker of the first hybrid car in history (in 1900) and the developer of the legendary Volkswagen Beetle.

Now let’s recollect Porsche’s most influential models.

Porsche 356

1953 Porsche 356
1953 Porsche 356 America

This is Porsche’s first production automobile: lightweight, nimble-handling, rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive, two-door one, available both in hard top and open top variants. The carmaker built it from 1948 to 1965. The model succeeded in motorsport and was loved by Hollywood and rock ‘n’ roll superstars of the day (Janis Joplin, Steve McQueen, James Dean).

The 356 solidified Porsche’s status as a manufacturer of high-performance vehicles and laid the foundation for its further dominance in sportscar racing. Nearly half of the original cars survive out of the 76,000 units built.

Porsche 917

Porsche 917 1970
1970 Porsche 917

The beautifully proportioned model won multiple racing championships from 1969 to 1975, including Can-Am Racing, Interserie Championship, and the International Championship for Makes. It was the 917 that gave Porsche its first overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 and repeated the win in 1971.

Under the hood, the glorious sports car had a Type 912 flat-12 engine that was progressively enlarged from 4.5 to 4.9 and then 5.0 liters, from 520 hp to 600 hp and later to 630 horsepower. Moreover, the Porsche 917 pushed the boundaries of knowledge in aerodynamics. 

Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera RS

Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera RS 1973
1973 Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera RS

It’s impossible to imagine the TOP 10 list of Porsche’s bests without this lightweight icon revolutionizing sportscar design. The original ‘Rennsport’ remains the most desirable Porsche 911 for many people, especially the run of 200 Lightweight models.

The 911 2.7 Carrera RS featured the brand’s iconic ducktail spoiler and wide wheel arches. It debuted the Carrera nameplate and was Germany’s fastest production car. And moreover, the model is Porsche’s first real attempt to create a stripped-back racecar for the road.

The company first developed the vehicle as a limited-run homologation special. With an unladen weight of 960 kg and 210 HP (154 kW) from a 2687-cc (2.7-liter) 6-cylinder Boxer engine, the RS 2.7 accelerated from 0 to 62 mph in 5.8 seconds and could hit 152 mph (245 km/h) – an impressive result even today, let alone a car produced in 1972-73.

Porsche 956 & 962

Porsche 956 1982
1982 Porsche 956

The Porsche 956 is knowns as a record holder, and the 962 is its successful successor. The automaker built the 956 in 1982 for the FIA World Sportscar Championship and upgraded the model to the 956B in 1984.

In 1983, the 956 driven by Stefan Bellof set a record at the Nurburgring Nordschleife (20.832 km /12.93 miles in 6:11.13) that was broken only 35 years later, in the summer of 2018, by…a Porsche car.

The 956 was innovative: it brought a number of Porsche’s design and engineering firsts: a lighter all-aluminum monocoque body, a double-clutch transmission, and ground effect aerodynamics that increased downforce up to 3 times.

Porsche used the model’s chassis as a testbed for the P01 Formula 1 engine – a very successful one, later badged as TAG and used exclusively by McLaren. The TAG-Porsche engine sits in seventh place on the list of F1 race-winning engines.

The Porsche 962, also known as the 962C, was an evolution in the 956’s design. and it officially replaced the latter in 1985. The car quickly became successful through private owners, and it grabbed two successive victories. The 962 has a remarkably long-lived career: some examples proved competitive into the mid-1990s.

Porsche 962C 1987
1987 Porsche 962 C

Porsche 924 Carrera GT

1980 Porsche 924 Carrera GT
1980 Porsche 924 Carrera GT

In 1976-1988, the automaker produced the Porsche 924 two-door 2+2 coupe with a 2-liter I4 engine under the hood, which became a sales success. Besides, the car had its own racing series in the UK and the US (the 924S). The model was the first production road-going Porsche to use a conventional fully automatic transmission, a front-engine RWD layout, and water cooling.

In 1978, Porsche introduced a turbocharged version, the 924 Turbo, and it derived into a cool race car called the 924 Carrera GT in 1980, followed by a lighter and stylistically different limited-run 924 Carrera GTS. Both the 924 Carrera GT and GTS were available as road cars too, with 210 and 245 hp (157 and 183 kW) respectively.

Unlike the regular 924 Turbo, the Carrera GT had flared guards and a front spoiler made of polyurethane plastic, a flush-mounted front windscreen, a top-mounted air scoop for the intercooler, air intakes in the badge panel, a much bigger rubber rear spoiler. Pirelli P6 and P7 tires, and an optional limited-slip differential.

The ultimate development of the 924 was the 924 Carrera GTR race car producing 375 hp (280 kW), which was entered by Porsche into the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1980. 

To sum up, the ‘baby’ 924 Carrera GTis a reliable, nice-handled car with a racing pedigree, and one of the cheapest Porsches when it comes to maintenance.

Porsche 959

Porsche 959 1986
1986 Porsche 959

From 1986 to 1993, Porsche produced the 959 models: as a Group B rally car first, and later as a road-legal production vehicle, the fastest and most technologically advanced for the time, designed to meet FIA homologation regulations. The car powered by a 2 .8-liter twin-turbo flat-six was able to gain a top speed of 197 mph or up to 211 mph for the most potent variants.

The Porsche 959 is a forerunner of all forthcoming sports cars. In 2004, the model headed the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s.

What began as a project to develop a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, ended up with two outright Paris-Dakar Rally wins. Thus, first launched on the 959, the PSK all-wheel-drive has been realized for the road in every Porsche 911 Turbo model since the 993. The twin-turbo system used on the car also made its way to future turbocharged Porsche sports cars.

Porsche Cayenne

2004 Porsche Cayenne
2004 Porsche Cayenne

Porsche introduced its first-ever SUV, the Cayenne, in 2002, and it became a best-seller very soon since the model offered all that was synonymous with Porsche: drivability, comfort, speed, space, luxurious detailing, and a nice overall experience. It is one of the most powerful vehicles in existence. For example, the Cayenne S diesel set a world record for towing a 285-ton airplane in 2017.

The Cayenne is a significant model for Porsche. It saved the company from bankruptcy, introduced the term “sporty SUV”, and actually was one of the first vehicles to dictate a market change. The Cayenne’s impact was so good that all luxury automakers ventured into the world of premium SUVs.

Currently, the model comes with a 3.0-liter single-turbo V6 with 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque as standard. A 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with 434 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque is available for the Cayenne S, and a twin-turbo V8 with 541 or 453 hp/ 457 or 568 lb-ft of torque is offered for the Cayenne Turbo. The 2023 model with the base V6 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds.

Porsche Boxster

Porsche Boxster 1999
1999 Porsche Boxster

Porsche Cayman

2007 Porsche Cayman
2007 Porsche Cayman

The Porsche Boxster roadster and the Porsche Cayman fastback-coupe are related mid-engined two-seaters. Albeit the manufacturer keeps them in the shadow of its all-time icon – the 911, both are decent, capable performance vehicles, which are quite affordable for the class, and commercially successful.

Also, the Boxster and Cayman are winners of numerous international and regional awards. Their motorsport portfolio includes participation in various racing series and class championships,

The cars have been produced since 1996 (Boxster) and 2005 (Cayman) across four generations. Today the Cayman GT4 and GTS form the pinnacle of the sub-911 Porsche range.

Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton AKA ‘P1’

Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton AKA ‘P1’ 1898
1898 Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton AKA ‘P1’

This creature is worth remembering at least because it is Porsche No.1 (P1) – the first automobile designed by Ferdinand Porsche and an electric one, in addition!

The machine was powered by a compact electric drive system and had two motors located in the wheel hubs. Its performance figures – 3-5 horsepower and a top speed of 22 mph- seem tiny today, but in 1898, when the vehicle arrived, it was something extraordinary.

The P1 beat competitors in a road race in Berlin by over 18 minutes around a 25-mile course. And it became the basis for the first hybrid vehicle in history – the Lohner-Porsche Mixed Hybrid which was powered by a gasoline engine generator and batteries and served as proof of Porsche’s ingenuity pioneer work.

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