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The Porsche Museum restored its oldest 911

BEAM Staff
December 21, 2017

The Porsche Museum now has a brand new 911 to display to its visitors and it's the oldest 911 in its collection. Discovered by a German TV crew back in 2014 whilst taping a documentary, the car was the 57th 911 ever built and even originally held a different name.

Back in 1964 when the car was built, Porsche remained a yet unknown name. Its original intention was to name the car the 901, under which brand this unit was built. The line was, however, swiftly renamed to the 911 to be able to continue production, which makes this unit one of the rare few Porsche 901s in existence.

The German manufacturer had originally intended to name the line the 901. This was until French automobile behemoth, Peugeot, sued the small sports car builder, for infringing on their trademark. According to Peugeot, they were the only ones who could name car lines with three digits and a zero in the middle, such as the 208, 308 and so on.

Ultimately, it was validated that Peugeot held this trademark and Porsche decided to simply substitute the zero with a one, in this yet unknown model, creating the first 911 cars in existence. All 901s built had their numbers changed to 911, but these remain highly valuable to this day for having originally born a different trademark.

As soon as the Porsche Museum, an institution opened by the German manufacturer in a side-road near its factory near Stuttgart, Germany, got wind of such a car having been discovered, they set to fully rebuild the car to its original glory. Their aim was to be able to show visitors a colourful piece of Porsche's history.

Not only have the teams at Porsche brought the car's fuselage to its prime, replacing everything from windshields to headlights and tires, the curators also had the car's interior rebuilt as if it were a window into the past. Every element in the car, from the control systems to the seats are made as if we were still in the 1960s.

Whilst still bearing a 1960s look, as was intended during her restoration, the 57th 911 is lightyears away from the state in which the car was found, abandoned in a barn in 2014. It is, in fact, difficult to even imagine that she could look like she does today, without the hard work of the Porsche museum to recreate the car.

Whereas it's exterior still had a vague resemblance to a 911 Porsche, which is how the TV crew spotted her lying in the barn they were taping, it's interior was completely destroyed. Other than her steering wheel and a few echoes of a control panel, virtually nothing was left. Dust and rust also spread throughout the car.

Still following its restoration, the car looks as if she had just been assembled. Initially developed as a more comfortable replacement to the Porsche 356, the 911, or 901 as it was originally called, first appeared at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963, with the first working model being eventually rolled out in February 1964.

Although it hardly compares with the comfort of today's automobiles, for its time, the Porsche 911 was considered to be the stuff of dreams. Featuring a total of four seats - two smaller ones were in the back - 

Whilst their practical applications may appear slim, Porsche 911s from 1964, identical to the ones now at the Porsche Museum, have been extremely popular with car collectors worldwide. One Porsche 911 from 1964 as well, in fact, sold at an asking price of $745,000 earlier this year.

Opened in 1976, the Porsche Museum is located right near the Porsche factory in Stuttgart, Germany. When it was first created by a then much smaller company, the museum featured only 20 exhibits, displayed in rotation, and very little parking space. It was meant as a 'rolling museum' for the fleet of circa 300 Porsche cars it had restored and in full driving order.

Following the opening of Mercedes-Benz's museum in Stuttgart in 2006, Porsche decided it was time to up its game and expand its facility. Investing over €100 million into its development and construction, the facility was eventually opened in January 2009. Spanning over 5,600 square meters, the museum features over 80 exhibits with many rare, restored cars, such as the Porsche 911.

Built as a whole experience, the Porsche Museum features a large, interactive, multimedia wall for visitors to learn about the firm's history. A sophisticated restaurant serving Mediterranean food can also be found within the museum. All around the building are cars and memorabilia from Porsche's history as a brand.

The world's 48th most valuable brand according to Interbrand's yearly study, widely considered as a reference in the industry, Porsche was established in 1931 in Germany by Ferdinand Porsche with headquarters in Stuttgart. Its initial main business was consulting on vehicle development work, but the company didn't actually build any cars itself.

One of the first orders the company landed was from the German government to design a car for the people - 'Volkswagen' - which transpired into the Beetle. From that point on, the Porsche 64 was developed and introduced in 1939. The first model sold by the company was, however, the Porsche 356 in 1947.

Throughout the next decades, Porsche grew its product line and ameliorated its cars in a recovering European climate after the second World War. During the 1970s, Porsche family members, believing the company had scaled too much, appointed an executive board to execute the company's operations. A move inspired by Honda's 'no family members in the company' policy in Japan.

After some attempts at mergers and acquisitions, which briefly shot up Volkswagen to being the most valuable company in the world, Porsche merged with Volkswagen. As a result, the combined group controls a number of brands such as Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini.

The company's over nine decades of existence have created several models during its early years that, following the strong success of the brand, have grown into valuable collector's items. Porsches 356, built during the 1950s, for example, now trade for over $250,000 amongst collectors, ie, more than a brand new Porsche.

"If you go back 25 years, you were able to purchase some exotic cars for about $25,000." Christophe Boribon, auction manager for Shannons explained Drive. "Today they're worth $1 million or more. Some of those cars have actually outstripped property prices when you look at it from that point of view. It's incredible the number of classic cars in the past 3 years or so that have now exceeded the $1 million mark."

The retro 911 is however far from the most valuable Porsche car ever sold. Earlier this year, a 1970 Porsche 917K previously driven by actor Steve McQueen was sold for $14,08 million at auction to a Swiss collector. The model that also won the 24h Le Mans in 1970, she was featured in the eponymous movie where she was driven by Steve McQueen. It was the most expensive Porsche ever sold.

Initially bought by the late pilot, Jo Siffert. The 917K was later bought in 1978 by Pierre Prieur, a French collector. Following his death, the car resurfaced in 2001 and was sold at auction for 2 millions francs (€300,000) to Swiss collector, Jean-Pierre Clément. He was then the one who sold her at auction in August 2017 for over $14 million.