History of Porsche

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Porsche was born in 1875 in Mafferdorf in Bohemia. Ferdinand Porsche designed all types of machines and cars. He designed the first plans for the Volkswagen Beetle, the largest selling car in history and still in production in Mexico. As well, Porsche designed for other auto manufactures such as Austo Daimler, Mercedes-Benz, Zûndapp, and Auto Union (Audi). During the war not only did he design the Beetle but also designed other war machines. In France, after the war, Ferdinand, his son Ferry and his daughter Louise Piech's husband Anton were arrested for having assisted the German war effort. Their capture was aided by the French auto maker Renault. It took Louise Piech six month to free Ferry and two years to free Ferdinand and Anton. Louise and Anton had a son, Ferdinand. Ferdinand Piech is now the president of Volkswagen. Yet another Porsche and Volkswagen connection. Louise Piech led the establishment of the Porsche design company in Austria in 1946.

They started with a fee-paying design for the Cisitalia grand prix car (above picture). While working on this car, the team started sketching it's own car in July 1947, based on the Volkswagen Beetle. This car had the code-name Type 356. He wouldn't see the Beetle in mass production until he visited Wolfsburg near the end of his life. When Porsche witnessed the large number of Beetles driving about the Autobahn, he begun to cry tears of joy. His dream was a reality.

Porsche died on January 30th 1951, at the age of 75. The Beetle would live on as well as his own company. Porsche was a true automotive legend of a supreme level.

In conclusion, Ferdinand Porsche's son, Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche Jr. became chairman of the Porsche company's supervisory board in 1972 when the firm became a publicly traded company. He died on March 27th, 1998 at the age of 88. Also Dr. Porsche's grandson, Dr. Ferdinand Piech, became chairman of Volkswagen AG. The 356 was replaced in 1963 by the still successful Porsche 911 and other models. Most of Porsche operations are directed out of Stuttgart, Germany.

1948: Gmünd, Austria. The Porsche Firm, having located to Austria just after the war to be closer to parts suppliers, turns out a variety of automotive, farm and industrial motors and tools for the war-ravaged western europe. Ferry Porsche (son of the famous Dr. Ing Ferdinand Porsche, founder of Porsche motors) designed and fabricates the first Project #356 car, model 356-001. The car utilized a tubular chassis, an 1100cc engine and was very light and so quick for the time. Karl Frolich was the gearbox and suspension specialist contributing to the handling of the prototype. Ferry Porsche often took the prototype--sometimes just the rolling chassis without body--up the steep mountain roads surrounding Gmünd and found the car a spright handler and good climber.

The first Project #356 car, model 356-001

The body of the car was designed by Irwin Komenda. Kommenda, an Austrian born in 1904, contributed substantially to the Volkswagen, Cistalia, Auto Union racers and other cars of the day. Though the car changed from mid-engine to rear, the tubular chassis gave way to a unitized pan and body construction, and a myriad of details evolved over the 22 year run of the model, the overall design and instantly recognizeable shape of the car remained the same, a timeless classic. Komenda joined Porsche's design bureau in 1931 after positions at Steyr and Daimler-Benz and other coach shops in Austria and Germany. Komenda contributed to many other designs in Porsche's history and was the chief engineer and head of Porsche's coach werk from 1955 until his death in 1966.

Karl Peter-Rabe was the "confidential clerk" for Porsche, and became the chief business manager, after Prizing, until 1965. Dr. Ing Albert Prizing was a business manager who brought 37 orders back to the factory after one importer's conference in Wolfsberg in 1950.

The original 356-001 car is raced at the Innsbruck city race, achieiving a victory in the 1100cc class in its first outing. Porsche was homologated by the state government of Kärnten in Austria on the 8th of June 1948. Above photos courtesy of the Porsche archives. The original Porsche "001" car is in the Factory Meuseum and frequently tours the world for special car shows and historic events.

Source: Auto E Club

You can acquire the full Porsche history including pictures and stats at Auto E Club

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