May 09, 2018 2 min read

Have you ever wondered why the Porsche 911 is called... 911? Let's explore the captivating story behind the name of this German luxury sports car that has captivated enthusiasts worldwide.

Contrary to popular belief, the chief engineer responsible for Porsche's best-selling line was not of American descent, and these two-seater sports cars were not specifically made for the United States. Porsche has officially revealed the truth surrounding the origins of the iconic name.

In a surprising turn of events, the legendary Porsche name came into existence due to a remarkably simple reason—it was taken away by a formidable opponent. The Porsche 911, featuring a high-performance six-cylinder boxer engine and all-wheel drive, emerged as a result of continuous advancements in the automotive industry while preserving the car's core values.

The story began in 1963 when Porsche introduced their latest model as the successor to the 356 series, unveiling it at the Frankfurt Motor Show in their homeland. However, their plans were interrupted when their competitor at the time, Peugeot of France, swiftly secured the copyright for car models with three-digit numbers containing a zero in the middle.

Peugeot sent Porsche a courteous but unequivocal letter, requesting them to alter the name from 901 due to their extensive usage of a similar naming convention. Porsche had no choice but to comply. Thus, the number 0 was removed from the name, replaced by the number 1, giving birth to the iconic and beloved 911 name that the world knows today.

Although the name change occurred early in the production process, approximately 85 units bearing the 901 name were already shipped, primarily for internal testing purposes. A few are believed to have been sold to customers. Interestingly, Porsche had already commissioned suppliers to produce gilded numerals for the dashboard and engine cover, showcasing the original 901 designation.

In the end, Porsche devised a "perfect" resolution, and the name Porsche 911 was officially born. This marked the beginning of an extraordinary journey for the German automaker, as the Porsche 911 has become an enduring legend that has captivated car enthusiasts for over 50 years. The Porsche 901, an emblem of this captivating story, remains on display at the Stuttgart Museum in Germany.

The origin of the Porsche 911's name is a testament to the twists and turns of automotive history. From a simple naming conflict to the birth of an iconic legend, this story showcases Porsche's resilience and ingenuity. As the 911 continues to capture the imagination of car enthusiasts worldwide, it stands as a timeless symbol of Porsche's enduring legacy and commitment to engineering excellence. The Porsche 901 may have vanished, but its spirit lives on through the legendary 911.