Pilgrimage to Stuttgart

Definition of pilgrimage:

a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance.

Stuttgart is ground zero for Porsche. It’s the world headquarters and since 1963 every 911 has been built here. Visiting the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart was akin to a pilgrimage of sorts for me.

Although there have been various Porsche models throughout the years, for me the 911 was the one that got me most excited…almost like a school girl seeing Justin Bieber in concert. It’s had the same basic design since 1963 but keeps getting refined. Currently, the 911 is in it’s 7th generation and known internally as Type 991 and was launched on August 23, 2011.

Having grown up in Southern Indiana I didn’t see a lot of Porsche’s but I remember reading every magazine article I could find about the 911 – Car & Driver, Road & Track and Motor Trend were my friends.

It feels like yesterday when I first saw pictures of the 911 and salivating over it. It was 1988 and I was a freshman in high school thumbing through a car magazine at the school library. Porsche had just announced their next generation 911, the 3rd generation 911 known internally as Type 964. It was just simple and beautiful with clean lines. The car magazines would always compare every new 911 to the American sports cars like Corvette, Camaro, Mustang, etc… However, as Porsche marketing back then suggested and as Tom Cruise famously said in the movie Risky Business – “Porsche, there is no substitute.”

Anyways, back to the pilgrimage. When we visited the Porsche Museum they had a special exhibit called the “Identity 911” showcasing the 7 generations of the 911 and the origins of the 911. The 911 was designed by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, instead of blood this guy had engine oil running through his body. His grandfather designed the VW Beetle which is the best selling car of all time. When you stop and think about it, only 2 cars have maintained their same basic shape through the years – the 911 and the Beetle. The 911 is fast approaching it’s 50 birthday next year and yet if you see any of the previous 911’s you know they are part of the 911 family, hence the exhibit name “Identity 911”. The iconic 911 is like fine wine, it just gets better with time.

Download an excellent PDF showing the visual changes of all 7 generations of the 911.

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