Is The Best 911 A Narrow 911?
The Antithesis

You are familiar with the Porsche 911.

It is Porsche’s masterpiece. Since its debut in 1963, the 911 has become the epitome of focused design. It should never have worked, but it did and continues to do so.

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The evolution of the Porsche 911 is, at the very least, something which deserves huge amounts of respect. The commitment to stay with the rear-engined and rear-wheel drive layout for over 50 years is simply unheard of, especially considering how ‘wrong’ it was. Even its basic design when first unveiled as the Porsche 901 was a result of function over form.

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Ferdinand Alexander (Butzi) Porsche, the original designer of the Porsche 911, went against the grain of what was common in car design at the time. The ’50s and ’60s were the peak days of excess in car design, especially in the United States. Air and spacecraft inspired cars which featured huge tail fins, two-tone paint jobs and lashings of chrome were the order of the day. These cars were designed to be obsolete from the get-go so that manufacturers could sell buyers the new model the next year.

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Butzi was acutely aware of these needless styling exercises and planned obsolescence which put a focus on aesthetics above engineering purity. ‘Styling doesn’t exist to provide new faces. It must strive for what is truly good.’

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Porsche’s pursuit of perfection with the 911 continues to this day. Today’s 911 is arguably one of the greatest sports cars you can buy, even in its most basic form. In recent times, more and more people have begun to appreciate the strength of the 911, which has seen a huge surge in their popularity. Since 2009, new Porsche sales in North America have continued to increase year-on year, every year. Comparing 2009 to 2016, sales have increased by 175 percent in the United States alone.

2017 Players Classic Speedhunters Porsche 911 Editorial by Paddy McGrath-9

On a similar trend, the price and sales of secondhand Porsche 911s have skyrocketed too. We’re all aware of the outrageous values that used 911s currently command, but what’s maybe most interesting is that the cars which originally weren’t received very well are at the fore of this resurgence.

When we look at the aftermarket, Type 964s and 993s are in high demand. This is represented perfectly by their popularity at car shows and meets, the world over. There does, however, appear to be a divide in how one should treat a 911 in the aftermarket.

It was at Players Classic earlier this summer when I happened upon two immaculate examples of the 964 on Air Lift Performance‘s stand (amongst some others, pictured below). It was then and there I came to the realisation that standard-bodied cars dropped low over relatively large wheels is the strongest look for these 911s. Don’t get me wrong, I really do enjoy the RWB cars quite a lot and the presence that they have in person is unrivalled. I’m also not including the special GT2 and GT3 variants in this particular discussion.

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I just think that these cars better represent the ethos of the 911. With the body almost on the floor and wheels tucked into the arches, they almost take on a concept car type of look. A look which you would almost expect to see on paper when the car was first designed. With the – double – press of a button, they regain full drivability at their preset driving height.

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I think maybe the word that describes them best is elegant. They’re not in your face or any way over the top; there’s a beautiful amount of subtlety to them. Maybe you might change one or two small details to suit your individual taste, but on the whole, it’s the perfect recipe. In my opinion, of course.

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So, what do you say?

Are you a fan of this simple but perhaps timeless look, or do you prefer Nakai-san’s wide-arched variants? What is your perfect Porsche 911?

Talk to us in the comments section below.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos
paddy@speedhunters.com

The Porsche 911 on Speedhunters

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53 comments

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1

My perfect 911 is a 944 :P

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3

I'll trade ya with that orange thing

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4

Every one you showed has been widened with rs flares

5

Nate your wrong. all those flares look exactly like my stock 92 narrow body

6

That would be incorrect sir.

7

call them what you want but they have been flared

8

Are the front and rear Fenders on your 911 flared or widened, or are they still the non-RS, unaltered OEM width?

9

mine are stock width

10

Whew! Thank god! Then I guess it seems the world is still safe for now and we can all just move on with our lives, letting people write articles on websites as they choose, as well as build their own cars the way that they want to.

11

Nobody said that they can't, I just pointed out that these weren't "narrow bodied" 911's. Take it easy Jabroni

12

If you want to be pedantic about it they are narrow bodied in the sense that they are the narrow versions of the cars sold in that generation. You could get a regular 964 which is "narrow" like these, a 1994 964 C4, or a 964 Turbo. The latter two had wide bodies from the factory. Porsche "flared" the fenders out when they started the 911SC in 1978. Yes, they're wider than the original 911 but they are still narrow bodied cars.

14

is there a point you are trying to make?

15

Body - yes.
Wheels - no.
Smaller, meaty rubber. Bit of a dish. Aaand you're set.

16

targa spec. I like those.

17

I hate to disagree about the wheels too... the use of period correct amount of rubber and a relative actual time period low down looks outstanding!! for example that 356 at the bottom...

But, my body taste is also the narrow 911

18

I prefer the simple 'slim-hipped' look of older 911s. Even the 997, in Carrera 2 guise, is still relatively narrow when you compare it to the 991. I would love to add a 964 to my collection one day but may have to 'settle' for a water cooled variant if prices for the air cooled Porsches keep rising.

20

Keeping them simple is always good.

21

Narrow body with original wheels and ride height is the best look for any generation of 911 in my opinion

22
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Purists be damned! They will tell you to keep your car stock! Just build your 911 however you want!

For me, I'd like a Singer 911 with RWB kit.

23

I see what you mean, Paddy--they look like concept cars this way. I'm trying to get my buddy to lend me his 964 for the day :) ;)

24

I love narrow body 964's but my perfect 911 is a 993 C2S

25
Rich E Wavy Kariuki

I confess, I too am a narrow-body lover!

26

The iconic styling is the true fact that made the 911 so special.
My Top3 911s were:
No.1: '73 Carrera RS 2.7 (Ducktail spoiler wins BIG!)
No.2: '87 930 Turbo (In stock form, it's already awesome in every way)
No.3: Singer 911 (Correct retro styling with Modern day reliability and performance)

(Though my favorite model from Porsche was not the 911, but the glorious 959...XD)

27

That's my top 3 too. Although my 930 would be a flatnose

28

The best is my own 911. If i have any that is.

29

I'd personally want them to sit a liiitle higher, but yea, Narrow bodies over fat-fendered anytime!

30

they all look a bit pussy. wide boy is the way check out the 400r by gunther werks

31

God these kids and their tucked and slammed fad!
Why mess with a great sports car?

32

Good Story! Here is my 964.
Best Regards from Austria

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33

tiny porches are <3

34
John player special

Tucked wheels look disgusting no matter what unless it's on some big jdm boat that isn't meant to handle anyways. No need to weeb out a car that was perfect from factory.

35

For me, it's a tie between the 997-gen 911 Turbo and GT3 RS.

36

I like both styles but while I like 911s, I dont think I would want to own one. But a 924 is cheap enough to have some fun with without upsetting the purists since they dont seem to like them anyway

37

OEM+ baby. Seems everyone is doing it today. The radical machines are nice to see once in a while but sometimes it is more fun to try and find out what was changed and how the owner puts their own soul into a build.

38

I also have a vast amount of appreciation for RWBs, but at heart I've always been in the "keep 'em skinny" camp.

39

I think the 964's are bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful. I damn well hope I sort my life out to the extent that one day I'll have one sat in my garage.

40

The best 911 will always be the slantnose.

41

Growing up I wasn't really into wide bodied 911, but I didn't really 'get' the 964 either. Looking back I guess this was because the standard wheels didn't really fill the arches and they looked quite high. Nobody really modded them tastefully back then. What turned me was Stephen Brooke's film of the Meguir's picnic 'any given Sunday' where a gorgeous red 911 rolled in (was it Milestone 71's?). I've lusted after one ever since, and many more people seem have done similar mods - lower with wheels that actually fill the arches! I really should have bought one at the time rather than help my dad build a house! They've gone up in value so much since I just haven't been able to afford one

42

The only thing that bothers me is the static ride height. I'm not a fan of the tucked wheel or stretched tyre look. 'Slammed' is just not sophisticated. Whilst it may be stylish for some, it is not elegant or subtle in my eyes. With all due respect to Air Lift Performance's design and engineering, it just annoys me that much of their work is been represented as a means of how low you can go... without sacrificing loss of daily driver function. Too many photos show demo cars in slammed mode. Why aren't there more photos of cars with air lift systems and 40 profile tyres that aren't stretched over fender-flush wheels? I strongly associate slammed cars with those that 'sport' hacked springs. Unsophisticated.

Author43

There are plenty, the issue is you can't really tell if it's on air when lifted.

I've tracked mine, and intend to do more in the near future - http://www.speedhunters.com/2017/02/project-gti-back-on-track/

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44

excited here

45

red one for me,

46

964 on cup wheels without the body all hacked up for me.

47

I drive a Saab Paddy, I would take ANY 911

48
JBfromSiliconValley

Ive said it before. Ill say it again. If Porsche or a 3rd party were to make a repop 911 body, it would be a license to print money.

49

I prefer one in black or silver so it blends. The longer you can go fast without any attention, the better.

50

I'm more of a figured styling. Wide bodied 930s-964s are my thing. From subtly wider Turbo versions to crazy overfendered RWBs. But I appreciate narrow body as well. It just doesn't have enough appeal on me.

51
MPistol HVBullets

simple, elegant sure - all that - but to say any car dumped on it's ass does it any favors just isn't in my mind

it gets a bit annoying to see cars dumped so low they can't be driven - I just don't get that

personal opinion aside, there is certainly something extremely "special" and yet "practical" about a 911 - I didn't always feel this way, I just grew into it, I drove a few, and I felt like I finally understood their appeal - they are the true everyday exotic

I almost wish the Honda kept making the first NSX - make the hybrid anyway - but keep making the NSX

It's also interesting how the 911 has stood the test of time despite crash regulations etc. - the car has still retained it's shape and size - sure it's bigger than before - but I think that also made it better - I love the nostalgic old 911's, but I'd much rather own the 991 - I just feel like it's finally complete - where else will they go with it if not a hybrid? I'm asking - I have no idea

52

Narrow body but 'Outlawed' with taste is the way. But I love the factory turbo/RSR wide bodies because they are metal not fibreglass rubbish

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