I NT RODUC T I ON
T wo momentous events defined the summer of 1996 for Porsche AG. In June, Porsche-powered cars reigned supreme at the 24 Hours of LeMans, capturing the top three finishing positions, and all three class titles. Then on July 15, the one-millionth Porsche sports car rolled out of the company’s assembly plant at Stuttgart- Zuffenhausen, to considerable fanfare. Sports-car enthusi- asts who noted the occasion no doubt observed, with consid- erable irony, that the 285-horsepower vehicle was a police version of the venerable Porsche 911, and would be utilized by the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, where it would patrol the autobahn for speeders. Still, the police could not be blamed for wanting to level the playing field. Porsche AG has had a long and proud tradition of designing and producing high-performance vehicles exclusively for the sports car market. The First Million The first sports car to carry the Porsche name, the 356, was built forty-nine years ago in Austria. Production was quickly moved to the suburbs of Stuttgart after the first fifty examples were manufactured, and over the next fifteen years, approximately 77,000 356 coupes and convertibles were delivered to customers around the globe. The 356 was replaced in 1963 with the vehicle that defines the Porsche legend: the 911. Over 419,000 units of the 911 and its derivatives have been produced to date, and it remains one of the most desired of automotive conveyances. From 1969 to 1975, the company made 118,000 Porsche 914 mid-engined cars, which, because of its powerplant, was looked down upon by so-called true Porschephiles as being little more than a glorified Volkswagen. The 914 was replaced by the front-engined 924; it, and its successors, the 944 and 968, have accounted for 325,000 cars over the years.
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