The smell of a Porsche 911

This weekend involved me driving a Porsche 911T, a 993 and a 996. And it struck me – not for the first time – that the cabin of each generation of Porsche 911 has its own distinctive smell. Now, I don’t have a great sense of smell at the best of times, but if you blindfolded me I reckon I could have a pretty good stab at guessing what type of 911 I was in simply by inhaling its odour.

OK, so some are similar. I think I’d struggle between pre-impact bumper cars, and between the impact bumper generation of 911s, too. The 964 and 993 smell similar (but I think I may be able to differentiate between them), while the 996 and 997 also have a similar but distinct olfactory characteristics.

What’s fascinating about these smells is that they seem to remain with the car for life and are not dependant on restoration. That said, they can change – oil dripping onto the heat exchangers adds a distinctive (but not unpleasant) smell of burning oil to the cabin. And that’s a big part of a classic 911’s odour.

But what else affects the smell of a Porsche 911? Well, leather seats are a classic one, while on newer cars the plastics also influence the odour (especially on a hot day), and 997 cabins, I think, are affected by the smell of the carpets.

What are your thoughts on Porsche 911 smells?

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Michall Helmbæk

    Hi there.

    Thx for the article.

    Looking forward to drive my own 911 in a bit, what smell i am looking for is the next step, but what smell/car do you prefer for a new 911 owner

  2. Will Ellingham

    So true! Your piece caused me to recall a most delightful morning in Stuttgart. As I stepped off the S-Bahn at Neuwirtshaus (now the ‘Porscheplatz’ stop), I was overwhelmed by that scent, perhaps 100 times over…ahhh 🙂

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