When Porsche engineered the 356's successor, the company began production of the 901. However, just weeks into production, Porsche had to rename its banner vehicle due to a trademark dispute. Thus, the 901 became the 911. Porsche had already built the first batch of 901s, so the cars were manufactured as a 901, but sold as a 911. This restored vehicle is actually one of the first 901s ever produced before the official switch to the 911 name.
Porsche purchased the rare car in 2014 after a German television show focused on finding old treasures stumbled upon the car during an episode. Upon its discovery, the team immediately contacted the Porsche Museum, which verified it was an incredibly rare car.
The lengths to which Porsche went to restore this missing piece of its history is simply mind-blowing. To see a company place such a value on its past is what keeps the flocks of Porsche faithful growing, and the desire to preserve a car that it hadn’t yet found (imagine that, Porsche couldn’t find one!) shows the steep efforts to which the company will go for one of its own. Porsche built just 235 911s in 1964, the first 82 of which were designated as 901s.
The company negotiated with the owner of this early 911 and another project in his collection. Porsche paid $125,000 for this car, which had been in the second owner’s possession for many years after it became too small to transport his growing family. The front wings were missing, the engine was seized and the interior was practically fragments of dust and cloth. But the chassis plate that identified this car as one of the elusive 901s was pristine.
The company used genuine body parts from other 911 models and the engine, transmission, electrics, and interior were all repaired in the same manner. Restorers took great care to retain parts and fragments when able to keep the car as original as possible.
The 1964 901 turned 911 will be on display at the Porsche Museum through April 8, 2018 at the special exhibition “911 (901 No. 57) – A legend takes off.”