Glenshee, Scotland - It’s well known that the very first Porsche car was an all-wheel drive petrol-electric hybrid (and that was back in 1899!).
But the history of all-wheel drive on the rear-engined 911 platform (which is much more difficult to engineer) dates back to the Porsche 953 (also known as the 911 4x4), specially built for the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally and one of which, in the hands of René Metge and Dominique Lemoyne, won the car category outright.
That car became the later, much more driveable, 959 Group B car and, in 1988, the first street legal all-wheel drive 911 derivative - although only 337 were made and Porsche lost money on each one despite its prohibitive price tag.
But the lessons learned were incorporated in the type 964, the first major revision of the basic 911, which was launched in late 1989 as the 911 Carrera 4 with (you guessed it) four driven wheels and, ever since then, all-wheel drive has been part of the model line-up.
Purists, of course, decry the ‘4’ variants; to them a 911 must be rear-wheel drive only and, to be sure, the Weissach whitecoats have managed to tune out most the the original 911’s notorious tendency to swop ends without warning under pressure, but the all-wheel drive 911 will always be there for Porsche enthusiasts who value the improvement in grip and acceleration it affords.
And so, to celebrate three decades of all-wheel drive 911s, Porsche took one to ski slopes at Glenshee in Scotland, to show that, given narrow, studded tyres and a driver with steady hands, even snow and ice won’t stop a Porsche 911 4x4.