It is difficult to say precisely, which is the beginning of Porsche’s history. It could be in 1950 when the famous Max Hoffman introduced the Porsche 356 in the United States.
Or in 1948, when the first car to bear the Porsche name was introduced. But to understand Porsche’s heritage and philosophy, we need to go back to 1875, when, in September, at a goldsmith’s house in the bohemian village of Haffersdorf, a son was born. His name was Ferdinand Porsche.
Since adolescence, Ferdinand Porsche has shown glimpses of technical genius: at the age of 18, he connected the family home to electricity in 1893. Still, he showed no sign of disciplined engineering skills that will eventually become his trademark.
Even though the doctor is usually attached to his name, it is, in essence, honorary, as his only formal technical training was as a part-time engineering student in Vienna.
At the age of 25, young Ferdinand Porsche had entered the field of automotive design. Lohner & Co. of Vienna has already accepted its first car project.
For the next 20 years, Ferdinand Porsche, the temperamental but brilliant engineer, managed to partner with all of Germany’s leading car manufacturers.
At the same time, he designed a dozen of the most technically significant cars in history. Working for Mercedes-Benz, he helped develop the most revered Mercedes-Benz cars of all time: the SSK series.
For NSU, he designed the Auto Union Wanderer and Type 32, a precursor to the Volkswagen Beetle.
After being fired from Mercedes for disagreeing with the company’s engineering policies, Porsche decided to establish what would later become the Porsche A.G .: its engineering consulting group.
In a small office in Stuttgart, Dr. Porsche senior brought together a select group of engineers to work under the dramatic name “Doctor of Engineering Ferdinand Porsche, Inc., Building Installation for Land, Air, and Sea Transport.”
One of his employees was his young son, Ferry.
His primary interest was one that any young man could choose: sports and racing cars. Dr. Porsche’s senior and his team were kept extremely busy.
The consulting firm developed for Steyr (now the utility vehicle wing of the Steyr-Daimler-Puch harvester), Austria’s luxury sedan, but did not advance beyond the prototype stage.
They worked hard for Auto Union, now Audi: the company developed the Front, the world’s first front-wheel-drive economy car.
They surprised Auto Union with the mid-engined Grand Prix cars and their overloaded V-12 and V-16 engines, which, along with the Mercedes-Benz drivers, dominated European motorsport for almost a decade. After that, the company created its best-known projects for NSU and Zundapp.
The pair of prototypes was characterized by the suspension of the torsion bar patented by Dr. Porsche and an engine mounted at the rear. As no company moved quickly enough to make the designs, Porsche sold the concept to the German government.
He then supervised the construction of a factory in Wolfsburg to build the model. His drawings called the Type 60 car.
The world came to know it as the Beetle After the Second World War, and the Porsche Company began to create vehicles that used its name and thus became known around the world.
Now, almost a century later, Porsche has become the brand and family that have created excellent, often unique, and certainly lasting contributions to automotive engineering and design.