911S: A Porsche 911 history
After launching the Porsche 911 at Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963, it didn’t take Zuffenhausen long to realise there was market for a more performance-orientated version of their new flat six sports car.
By the end of 1966, the 2.0-litre 911S had been launched – the ‘S’ stood for ‘Super’ – featuring a boost in power to 160bhp as well a rear anti-roll bar and adjustable Koni dampers.
This iconic short-wheelbase 911 also saw the introduction of the now legendary ‘Fuchsfelge’. Designed to improve brake cooling (and reduce unsprung mass), the famous five-leaf Fuchs wheel design would go on to be a 911 staple until 1989.
For the 1969 model year, the 911S made the move to mechanical fuel injection (replacing the Weber carburettors and bringing an extra 10bhp) but it was the C & D Series cars of 1970 and 1971 where the ‘S’ got its first major overhaul.
The wheelbase was lengthened 2.3 inches to improve stability while the engine was bored out to 2.2 litres, providing a rev-happy engine that produced an impressive 180bhp.
1972 would be the Porsche 911S’s final year as the range topper and, as part of the E Series overhaul, the capacity was again increased, this time to 2.4 litres (via an increased stroke). The 190bhp 2.4S would continue into 1973, although it had been usurped by the new 2.7 Carrera RS.
The ‘911S’ moniker would survive into the impact bumper era although, in 2.7-litre format, it was bumped even further down the neunelfer pecking order behind the 2.7 Carrera and 3.0 Carrera RS and only turned out a measly 173bhp at 5,800rpm.
After its demise in 1977, the ‘S’ badge returned to the deck lid of a Porsche 911 for the first time on the 964 Turbo S in 1992 though it wouldn’t be until 1995 and the release of the wide-bodied 993 Carrera 4S that the famed letter was bestowed upon a naturally aspirated 911.
The 993 Carrera S saw the badge almost make a full-time comeback but, after the advent of water-cooling, the 996 generation only saw the Carrera S name on the back of the second generation 996 C4S (which, like its 993 namesake, also featured a host of Turbo components, include the wider body shell).
It wouldn’t be until the introduction of the 997 Carrera S in 2004 that the ‘S’ badge returned full-time to the Porsche 911 range; a year later it would be joined by the 997 C4S, with the range repeated on the second generation 997 platform.
The first generation 991 saw the Carrera S/Carrera 4S retain their familiar naturally aspirated format however, as 911’s ‘S’ badge heads towards its 50th birthday, Porsche has given the line-up its most revolutionary overhaul yet.
For 2016, the Porsche 911 Carrera range has gone turbocharged with the new 9A2 flat six in the Carrera S and Carrera 4S downsized to 3.0 litres, though power has been boosted to 420hp.
Which ‘S’ badged Porsche 911 is your favourite? Join the debate in the comments below. And, for more historical online features, check out our full selection of ‘Porsche 911 history’ articles now.