Porsche celebrates an important milestone since its greatest icon underwent a transformation.
For decades of its history, the Porsche 911 was known, loved, and revered for its air-cooled engine. However, with the introduction of the Porsche 996 generation of the car in 1997 for the 1998 model year, the Porsche 911 underwent a fundamental transformation, with a design that was significantly different than its predecessor, and an engine that was water-cooled instead. At the time, the air-cooled boxer engine with two valves per cylinder was approaching obsoletion due to its emissions and power capability, so Porsche knew that for the new generation of the 911 in the late 1990s, they would have to go to the drawing board.
Being in a crucial financial time for the company, Porsche needed to optimize costs, which is why the 996 911 and the first-generation Porsche Boxster featured similar interiors and similarly-styled exteriors. While the change in design and switch to the water-cooled engine was seen as an incredibly transformative and possibly controversial decision for the Porsche 911, it is still today one of the world’s most iconic, loved, desirable, and excellent performance cars, and 25 years down the road, Porsche’s decision made it successful, and at this point, the water-cooled Porsche 911 has been around for a period of time almost as long as the air-cooled version was. Now that the performance car world has seen more and more electric drivetrains, and more brands are announcing transitions, changes, and the ends of eras we’ve loved dearly, this example lets us know that even the iconic Porsche 911 has changed dramatically before, and Porsche is very good at it.