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Gallery: 50 years of Porsche 911

The evergreen 911 is celebrating its 50th birthday in 2013, and Porsche will be marking the occasion in style with a series of events throughout the year. We thought we'd mark the anniversary, too, by bringing you a gallery of all the important road versions you could buy over the years.

During the past 50 years, Porsche has built more than 820,000 911s, and that makes it the world's most successful sports car. It was launched in 1963 to replace the 356, and through five generations, it has continually evolved, grown more popular, and ultimately seen off the cars its maker created to replace is. Don't believe us? When did you last see a 944 Turbo or 928? Exactly.

The Porsche 911's heritage comes not only from its success on the road, but also through its racing - and rallying - exploits. From the very beginning it has been at home on circuits all over the world, earning a reputation as a versatile and dependable winner. Indeed, a good two thirds of the 30,000 race victories achieved by Porsche to date were notched up by the 911.

Here, then, are some of the most significant 911 variations from over the years.

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1972: Porsche 911 2.7RS Carrera

In order to compete at the top level of production car-based endurance racing, Porsche needed to up the power of its 911 to stay on the pace. But in order to qualify as a production car, a manufacturer needed to build a certain number of cars.

The RS Carrera was the first genuine 911-baseed 'homologation special' - that is a car designed with competition in mind, and manufacturered in just enough numbers to qualify (actually Porsche sold them easily, and made several more than needed). But what a beauty it was - 210bhp, a lighter body with aluminium panels, and that characteristic duck tail rear spoiler. An instant classic on the grounds of how good it was to drive - and today, it's rare and exceptionally valuable.

Vital statistics:
2687cc, 210bhp, 960kg

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