Given the outsize popularity of the air-cooled 911, this may come as a surprise.
When Porsche announced today that around 700,000 of the million 911s built are still on the road, we couldn’t help but wonder which cars specifically are still roadworthy. We assumed that a majority of the 700,000 911s were more recent examples, but researching that claim revealed an interesting bit of information: A majority of 911s produced are water-cooled, not air cooled.
In commemoration of the millionth 911, Porsche released a video showing the evolution of the model, charting how many were built up to each generation change. From 1963 to 1998, when the last air-cooled model was completed, Porsche had built 443,134 911s in total. Around that time, Porsche introduced the 996-generation 911, which was the first to be water-cooled.
From the 996’s introduction up until now, 556,866 911s have been built, constituting a significant majority of Porsche’s rear-engine sports car.
At first, this was is a surprising revelation given both the huge popularity of air-cooled 911s and the fact that they were in production for 35 years. Porsche has only been making water-cooled 911s for around 20 years, by comparison.
This figure makes sense, though. Porsche saw a huge uptick in sales with the introduction of the 996, and both the 997 and today’s 991 have seen similar success. The last 20 years have been good to the Porsche 911.
Still, as recent air-cooled show Luftgekühlt reminds us, Porsche nuts will keep their belt-driven fans whirring for the foreseeable future. The air-cooled 911 may now be outnumbered, but it’ll always be with us.