) -- The Porsche 911 turned 50 years old this fall, but the iconic sports car still boasts all of its youthful good looks -- and here's a rundown of five of the best 911s of all time.
"There have been countless variations of the 911, but some shine a little more brightly than the others," says Pete Stout of
magazine, the official publication of the 109,000-member
Porsche Club of America
Car fans have loved the 911 since Porsche unveiled the original in September 1963. (The German automaker initially called the model the "901," but
claimed it owned the trademark to car names consisting of three numbers with a zero in the middle.)
Stout, who serves as
's editor, says the 911 won auto enthusiasts' hearts by combining great styling and performance with unusual features. For instance, 911s to this day have their engines in back and their trunks in the front -- a design rarely seen in America since
discontinued widespread U.S. sales of the original Beetle in 1977.
Stout also believes many consumers see the 911 as a less-flashy, more "attainable" luxury sports car than rivals such as
. After all, the 2014 Porsche 911 starts at just $84,300 -- relatively modest for a fancy sports car -- and has a more-muted look than many rivals offer.
"People like the 911 because it's beautiful, but subtle," Stout says. "The car doesn't stand out the way a Ferrari does."
Click below to check out Stout's picks for five of the greatest 911s of all time.
The expert says the cars below aren't necessarily the absolute best 911s in history, but represent a range of significant models from the line's 50-year run. All vehicles appear in order of their model years.