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Wednesday, 12 April 2017


Ferdinand Porsche was born to German-speaking parents in Maffersdorf, northern Bohemia, part of the Austrian Empire at that time, and today part of the Czech Republic on September 3, 1875.

As a young engineer, Ferdinand Porsche designed the first electric/gasoline hybrid, the System Lohner-Porsche vehicle, which was first unveiled in Vienna on June 26, 1898. Unfortunately, its 1,800 kg (4,000 lb) of lead–acid batteries proved to be a severe shortcoming, as the weight of the batteries rendered it slow to climb hills. It also suffered from limited range due to limited battery life.

Porsche introduced the "Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid" in 1901: instead of a massive battery-pack, an internal combustion engine built by the German firm Daimler drove a generator which in turn drove the electric wheel hub motors. As a backup a small battery pack was fitted. This was the first successful petroleum electric hybrid vehicle on record.

Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid
Ferdinand Porsche went on to work for Austro-Daimler, Daimler-benz and Mercedes Benz before founding the independent design company called "Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche GmbH" in 1931, with main offices at Kronenstra├če 24 in the center of Stuttgart.

One of the first assignments the new company received was from Adolf Hitler, who instructed his fellow Austrian, Dr Ferdinand Porsche, to dream up a car able to transport two adults and three children for under 1,000 Reichsmarks, about the price of a small motorcycle.

The result was the "People's Car", the Volkswagen Beetle, which was designed by Ferdinand Porsche and a team of engineers, including his son Ferry Porsche. Some were made, but by the time the Wolfsburg factory was finished in 1938, World War II was starting and the company concentrated on making army vehicles instead.

Nazi Propaganda: "A family playing by a river with a KdF-Wagen and radio receiver" By Bundesarchiv,

The United Kingdom army reopened the Wolfsburg factory after the war. By 1972 more than 15 million Volkswagen Beetles had been sold, making it the world's most popular model.

Ferdinand Porsche was a member of the Nazi party and was arrested by the French authorities at the end of World War II. He spent two years in prison before being released without charge.

After World War II, while his father remained imprisoned in France, Ferry Porsche ran their company. Aided by the postwar Volkswagen enterprise, he created the first high-end cars that are uniquely associated with the company. A hand-built aluminium prototype labelled "No. 1″ was the first Porsche sports vehicle ever built on June 8, 1948.

Ferry had learned to drive in his tenth birthday present: a ‘toy’ car with a two-cylinder, four-stroke engine.

Dr. Ferdinand Porsche's health was damaged by his time in prison. In November 1950 he suffered a stroke which disabled him until his death, on January 30, 1951, aged 75.

Dr. Ferdinand Porsche. By Bundesarchiv, Bild  Wikipedia Commons

The actor James Dean died while driving his 1955 Porsche Spyder sports car, one of only 90 made of that year's model.

The Porsche company found their flagship in 1963: the 911. The concept had been called the 901, but the 1964 production car was officially named the 911. It had a two-liter six-cylinder engine that put out 130 hp, far more than its predecessor. Targa, semi-automatic. The car is still a bestseller.

Porsche 911 of 1968

The designer of the Porsche 911, Butzi Porsche, was the son of Ferry Porsche and grandson of Ferdinand Porsche.

Butzi Porsche was kicked out of industrial design school in his first year for apparent lack of talent.

When he went to work for his father at Porsche, the company's design director rejected Butzi's ideas, so he had the 911 prototype built by an outside contractor.

The 1967 Porsche 911S was the first production car to feature ventilated disc brake rotors. Now common, these rotors have cooling channels running between the two friction surfaces to give better cooling and therefore better resistance to brake fade during heavy applications.

The car that Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker died in, the Porsche Carrera GT, was designed to be notoriously difficult to drive to appeal to professional drivers who wanted a challenge.


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