Porsche 911 rear reflectors; a brief history in pictures

The launch of the new Porsche 991 Carrera 4 heralds the return of the full-width reflector between the rear lights – a Porsche 911 trademark for many years.

The latest reflector is very thin and some would say a pale reflection of previous attempts (sorry, couldn’t resist). However, I like it. It’s very elegant and, to my mind, better integrated into the design than that of the 997 Carrera 4.

Today, the reflector signifies four-wheel drive 911 Carrera 4s but when it was first introduced in 1974 it was fitted to all 911s, and remained so for many years.

Back then, such a reflector was a popular styling device, and had been used by, say, Ford and Vauxhall since the 1960s. There could be an argument for it making the car more visible from behind but, really, it was just there to look good, although it did become a usual home for the rear foglamp, which was previously bolted under the bumper.

The reflector disappeared with the launch of the all-new 996 in 1997, but then returned on the wide-bodied 996 Carrera 4S of 2001. This differed from previous ones in that it was attached to the engine cover, rather than being attached to the bodywork below.

When the 997 came along we once again thought that the reflector had been consigned to the history books.However,  when the revised 997 range was launched in 2008, the wider-bodied Carrera 4 and 4S models gained a slimmer and more subtle interpretation of the popular styling device.

The original reflector ran from 1974 to 1989 and soon became a 911 trademark
The 964 from 1989 to 1993 had a reflector that sloped forward slightly
The 993’s reflector (1994 to 1997) was slimmer and blended more into the slope of the car’s rear
The 2001 to 2004 Carrera 4S was the only 996 with a rear reflector, and looks great for it
The reflector returned on the Gen2 997 Carrera 4 and 4S from 2008 to 2011
It’s slimmer but there’s no mistaking the rear reflector on the new 991 Carrera 4 and 4S


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