by Iain Curry
THIS month Porsche celebrated a stunning milestone: the one millionth 911 sports car rolled off its Zuffenhausen production line in Germany.
This style icon was first shown in 1963, and now, over half a century later, the formula remains the same. Two doors, 2 + 2 seating, the engine in the back and a silhouette that is quite unlike anything else on the road.
It is the quintessential sports car, and remains the most strategically important model in the Porsche line up. It's the brand's golden child that it dare never kill off.
The 911's evolution has been monumental, but that unmistakable visage and shape can be traced back over five decades.
Despite these one million sales, the 911 still retains an air of exclusivity, so what's it's secret? Porsche offers its own opinion: "Like no other vehicle, it combines apparent opposites such as sportiness and everyday usability, tradition and innovation, exclusivity and social acceptance, design and functionality."
So the ethos has remained unchanged. But what did a Porsche 911 buyer in 1964 (the year if first came to market) receive compared to a 911 shopper in 2017?
Engine and performance:
1964: 2.0-litre six-cylinder with 96kW and 174Nm.
2017: 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder with 272kW and 450Nm.
The original air-cooled flat-six engine with twin Solex carburettors of 1964 offered a top speed of 210kmh and would reach 100kmh from standstill in 8.7-seconds.
How times have changed. Today, the entry-level 911 Carrera has upped the displacement to 3.0-litres, features water-cooling and two turbos, and can hit nearly 300kmh.
It will manage 100kmh in 4.6-seconds with a manual gearbox or 4.2-seconds with a PDK 'box and Sport Chrono pack.
In 1964 you had the choice of one 911. Australians today can pick from 20 different road-going variants. The Turbo S model with 427kW can hit 100kmh in 2.9-seconds.
1964: $7370 list price, or approximately $100,000 in 2017 when adjusted for inflation.
2017: $217,500 (Carrera) to $477,700 (Turbo S Cabriolet) before on-roads.
The first 911 was delivered in Australia in August 1965, and its new owner will have parted with around $7400 for the privilege.
If we look at the Reserve Bank's inflation rate calculator for that sum in the mid-1960s, it works out to about $100,000 in today's money.
That makes the current entry-level Carrera model's $217,500 before on-roads cost look steep, but the mid-60s 911 was somewhat down on specification when compared to today.
In the mid-60s imported cars were subject to the Wholesale Sales Tax of the day, but not the dreaded Luxury Car Tax making up a decent proportion of today's Porsche 911 sticker price.
As always, the 911 has been the reserve of the wealthy buyer, even when shopping on the used market.
If you want to buy an early 911 in Australia today, make sure your pockets are deep.
A 1965 911 (originally from the UK) is currently up for sale in Victoria for $350,000, while a right-hand-drive converted 1966 911 (originally from California) is listed for $285,000.
Size and weight:
1964: 1040kg. 4163mm (l), 1610mm (w), 1321mm (h), 2210mm (wheelbase).
2017: 1505kg. 4499mm (l), 1808mm (w), 1294mm (h) 2450mm (wheelbase).
Over 50 years the 911 has grown in length and width but got a tad shorter, while it has bulked up by nearly half a tonne thanks to its stronger frame and included luxury, tech and safety kit.
A huge change can be seen in the wheel sizes of the first and latest 911s. The early cars used skinny 4.5 x 15-inch wheels all round, while the 2017 Carrera has 8.5 x 19-inch wheels at the front and fat 11.5 x 19-inch wheels at the back. Much needed to get all that power down on the road.
1964: Disc brakes all round, independent rear suspension, chrome bumpers, chrome steel wheels, ash tray.
2017: Apple CarPlay infotainment, touchscreen, wireless internet access, online navigation, active suspension, reversing camera, adaptive cruise control.
Dripping with luxury today, the 1964 Porsche 911's cabin is spartan in comparison, but undoubtedly stylish in its simplicity.
Impressively, the original five dash gauges with a centrally mounted tachometer remain to this day, but the 1964 car had no need for an active suspension button, nor one to turn the stability control off or on.
Oh, and if you want an ashtray these days you need to option the Smoker Package for $130.
The 50-a-day 911 buyer from 1964 would surely despair...