Take a look at this Porsche 997 Turbo (above). A mean machine, isn’t it? It simply oozes power and aggression.
Now compare it to this 1968 Porsche 911T (below). A car with the same DNA but from 30 years earlier. It’s a lovely looking car but more petite and delicate-looking than the 997. Why? Because it’s lacking the newer car’s bulging arches, spoilers and intakes. It’s a pure 911 shape with no extras.
The original Porsche 911’s shape was, over the years, added to with flared arches (even this 1968 car has those), front lip spoilers, rear spoilers and wings, plus more and more air intakes. The intakes have become an integral part of all modern sports cars, as more and more powerful engines demand masses of cooling air, as do brakes and air-conditioning systems.
Porsche has been very clever in integrating these modern elements into the 911’s classic shape and, today, buyers actually want to see cars with spoilers, big arches and intakes large enough to devour small mammals – they make a car look purposeful and aggressive – back that 997 Turbo again.
Indeed, take away those elements and people say a car looks bland and dull. Which is exactly what happened with the 996 (below). Porsche did a fantastic job of reimagining the 911 when it developed the 996. Here was a car that was stripped of the bolt-ons that the 911 had gained over the years, and was a clever reinterpretation of the original 911 of the 1960s.
Sadly, though, buyers in the late 20th century and early 21st century didn’t want a pure-looking sports car, which is why Porsche went back a step with the 997, adding the various elements which had been removed from the pure 996 shape.
I know it’s not fashionable to say so, but I really like the Porsche 996’s pure and clean lines. It’s a masterpiece of design.