Porsche Code (The History and What the Codes Mean)

Porsche has a long and storied history of producing some of the world’s most iconic sports cars. Each Porsche model has its own unique internal code or number, which can be confusing for those unfamiliar with the brand. Today, we’d like to give you a brief overview of the Porsche Code, or Porsche Build Code, system so that you can better understand these amazing vehicles.

When was the Porsche Code created?


Porsche’s internal numbering system, known as the Porsche Code, began in 1931. At that time, Porsche was not a car manufacturer, but rather a design office owned by Ferdinand Porsche. Every order placed with the office was assigned a unique number. Order 7 was a sedan for Wanderer. Number 22 is a very important historical relic: the Auto Union race car. The original Volkswagen was order number 60. As you can see, the numbers grew quickly as each order, whether It was an engine, car, axle, or tractor, got its number.

Porsche began building cars in 1948 with the Porsche 356. the Porsche 356 was Presented in June and was the first car to bear the name Porsche.

Porsche SpeedsterPorsche 1500


Porsche used the engine capacity to name the model, e.g., Porsche 356 A 1600 Speedster. The name of an engine was used on special models at that time — It was the Fuhrmann engine’s name, which was called Carrera. This led to the Porsche 356 Carrera 1600 GT.

Porsche Code for recent models

  • The word “Boxster” is a made-up name that has been used since 1993 to describe a type of car with an engine layout similar to that of a boxer (a type of engine) and the design of a roadster (a type of vehicle).
  • Carrera is a term used by Porsche to denote the most powerful engine models. The name Carrera comes from the Mexican endurance race in which Porsche won major victories with the 550 Spyder. Today, Carrera is almost synonymous with the 911 model series.
  • The E-Hybrid models have an electric motor that generates more thrust and emits less carbon dioxide.
  • The Executive Panamera models have a 15cm longer body, which is mainly beneficial for passengers seated in the rear.
  • The GTS designation is used to identify the most exclusive and sporty models in a model series. The Gran Turismo Sport was originally a homologation class for motor racing, first given to the 904 Carrera GTS in 1963. The 928 GTS was introduced in 1991 as a revival of this tradition.
  • The RS designation is used for highly sporty models, such as the 911 RS America. The RS stands for RennSport, which is a street-legal version of the motor racing model.
  • The RennSport Rennwagen is a competition-only vehicle that cannot be driven on public roads.
  • The S in “S stands for Super or Sport” refers to the fact that it is a version of the car with a stronger engine. Today, the S stands for Sport and includes additional equipment enhancements over the basic model.
  • The Speedster models have a lower windscreen, which gives the car a more sleek silhouette. However, the driver must sacrifice comfort in the equipment.
  • The term “spyder” originally referred to lightweight, open-topped carriages that could seat two people. In the automotive world, it has come to refer specifically to open-engined sports cars from Porsche. The 550 Spyder was the first in this line, and laid the groundwork for subsequent models like the 918.
  • The “T” in 911 T from 1967 stood for “Touring”, meaning It was a lower-priced entry-level version. The 991 saw the return of the T, with the 911 Carrera T being a lighter base model that came with some driver-focused bits.
  • The 911 Targa is an open version of the 911 that is distinguished by its rollover protection bar and fixed roof section. The name “Targa” comes from the Sicilian road race Targa Florio.
  • Turbocharged engines are designed to deliver increased power and performance by forcing more air into the engine. This results in a higher compression ratio, which can lead to improved fuel economy and reduced emissions. Porsche has been using turbochargers on its vehicles since 2015.

Historic models

  • The Club Sport (CS) version of the 968 was available starting in 1992. It had the same engine as the regular 968, but It was streamlined for an extra sporting character. It didn’t have window lifts, rear seats, air conditioning, or rear seating, so it was lighter and faster than the 968.
  • The GT designation is used to denote a sportier model than the basic model. The designation is rooted in motorsport as it was possible to homologate vehicles to the GT class. The first use of the designation was in 1955 with the 356 A 1500 GS Carrera GT. Porsche returned to using it in 1989 for its 928 GT.
  • The GT-Cup is a Near-production racing version of the Porsche that is not street legal but can be used in the Carrera Cup.
  • The Luxury suffix (L) was added to the third 911 in 1967.
  • SWB/LWB: LWB is for long wheelbase. SWB stands for the short wheelbase. From 1964 to 1968, The 911 had a shorter wheelbase. F-model cars starting in 1969 have a longer wheelbase.
  • MFI is for Mechanical Fuel Injection System.
  • Porsche 356s built between 1948 and 1955 are “Pre-A.”
  • The 356 SC (Super Carrera) was introduced in 1964 as a high-performance version of the standard 356. The 95 hp engine made it one of the most powerful cars in its class, and it quickly became a favorite among driving enthusiasts. The 911 SC followed in 1977, offering even more performance thanks to its larger engine and upgraded suspension. The 911 Carrera 3.2 added even more power and refinement to the series, cementing its reputation as a true supercar.

Rapid Growth Led to Full Order Books

Porsche’s 356 was an instant hit, with orders flooding in soon after its introduction. Five years later, Porsche unveiled the Spyder model, which was so popular that even James Dean bought one. Porsche had almost 200 order numbers left to fill when it reached number 550.

The Porsche Code was drastically changed for the next model. Interesting side note: Porsche changed its nomenclature due to Volkswagen. Porsche had already planned to work with Wolfsburg, so they decided to use model codes that were compatible with Volkswagens. Porsche selected them for future models, as their 900 range was still in stock.

Peugeot copyright

Porsche 911 Carrera


Porsche already had a successor for the 356 in place. It should have been called 901 because it offered a six-cylinder boxer motor. To complement the 901 they had already planned a four-pot called 902 for the future.

The 901 was unveiled to the public at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show IAA. It was a huge success. Production began shortly thereafter for customer cars. However, Porsche didn’t foresee one thing: Peugeot’s lawyers. The French car manufacturer used three-digit numbers with a zero in between for their models since 1929. They were protected by law in France for this typing.

Porsche wanted to sell cars with the same model name around the world, so they had to rethink their model name. They chose a pragmatic approach and changed their model name to Porsche 911. Why? Porsche already had three numbers for the emblems: 9, 0, and 1. They decided to replace the 0 with 1. The rest is history.

Porsche had to change the code again after the 900 numbers ran out.

Porsche initially decided not to modify the Porsche 911’s internal model code. The 911’s evolutions were called A-, B, C-, and so forth by the engineers. This was the Porsche Code that lasted for ten years until the first major update in 1973, which brought us the G-Series Porsche 911.

Each model in the range had its unique number. The Porsche 930 Turbo, or 911 Turbo, is the most well-known example.

The 900 series became synonymous with driving pleasure

Porsche 900 Series

Porsche 900 Series


Numerous models were produced within the 900 nomenclature. The 914 is a light mid-engined sports car. It also features the transaxle models of four- and eight-cylinder engines (924 or 928).

This three-digit number that began with a nine quickly became a Porsche trademark. Anyone who reads 964 or 928 immediately recognizes it to be the name of a Zuffenhausen sportscar.

How the 964 changed the Porsche Code

The first completely redesigned Porsche 911 was unveiled in 1988. It was internally called the 964. This marked a significant shift in the Porsche Code. Porsche began to use their code more liberally from that point. The Porsche 993, the last air-cooled Porsche, was released in 1993. The 968 joined the fray in the transaxle department.

The very first Porsche Boxster was launched in the mid-90s. Its internal code was 986. Shortly thereafter, the first water-cooled 911 entered the competition. It was called 996. The 911s that followed were called 997, 991, and 992. The three-digit numbers are still used, although they are not as strict as 60 years ago. Only Porsche’s sports cars use numbers as model names today. All four-door models have real names.

Porsche used the 718 code again when it changed the Boxster/Cayman platform from six- to four-cylinder engines. This number was used in the past for a highly successful Hillclimb racer called 718K. These four-door cars are known by names such as Panamera, Macan, Taycan, and so forth.

Three Porsche sports cars came out in 2020: The 718 Boxster, 718 Cayman (internally 982), and Porsche 911 with its internal code 992.

Porsche Code Conclusion

We’ve given an overview of the Porsche Code. Each Porsche model has its distinctive internal code or number. We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and will use your newfound knowledge to identify which Porsche model by its unique code. If you are interested in reading more Porsche content, here is an article on The Meaning Behind Porsche Brake Caliper Colors.

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