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Porsche History

We take a look at the important Porsche figures, historical moments and epic road automobiles and racecars.

Porsche History - The Key People

The people who shaped Porsche

F. Porsche, taken in 1935
Ferdinand Porsche (1875 – 1951) Ferdinand Porsche was an Austrian-German automotive engineer and founder of the Porsche car company. He is best known for creating the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle, the Volkswagen Beetle, the Auto Union racing car, the Mercedes-Benz SS/SSK and several other important automobiles and technologies. Most importantly though, for fans of the best sports cars in the world, Ferdinand Porsche is the...
Ferry Porsche in 1954
Ferry Porsche 1909 – 1998 Born on September 19, 1909, of Austrian descent, Ferry Porsche kept the Porsche flame alive when his father was imprisoned in France. Ferry Porsche was one of the first employees to work in his father’s design engineering office, but it is his mark on the company while his father was away that made a huge difference. His realization of a...
F.A. Porsche with his iconic design work
F.A. “Butzi” Porsche (1935 – 2012) Better known to Porsche enthusiasts as F.A. “Butzi” Porsche, he was the son of Dr.-Ing. Ferdinand “Ferry” and Dorothea Porsche, and grandson of Professor Ferdinand and Aloisia Porsche. While heading up the styling department at Porsche, he played a pivotal role in the design of the 904, the iconic 911, and the 914. He went on to establish Porsche...
Ferdinand Piëch (1937 – 2019) Named car executive of the century in 1999, Ferdinand Piëch transformed Volkswagen into the world’s largest carmaker by revenue. Piëch was the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche. Piëch did everything from leading motor racing operations at Porsche during the 1960s, to turning Audi into a true luxury automotive leader, and then reviving VW in the 1990s and 2000s, turning it into...

Yesteryear & Historical Porsche Moments

The mythology of Porsche goes beyond just the people. Conversations, profiles, the cars and moments.

Ian Fraser-Jones – ‘Out’ after a one mile push, the car having stopped due to a gearbox failure, the car’s only mechanical failure – Angola 1959 Porsche used its racing exploits around the globe not only to gain exposure and media coverage, but also to improve the performance and reliability of its road and race cars. Here we look into the second part of our...
Le Mans 24 Hours, 9/10 June 1979: Its a tense time as the lead car, the #41 Numero Reserve Kremer Porsche 935 K3 driven by brothers Bill and Don Whittington, and Klaus Ludwig calls into the pits. Winning the Le Mans 24 Hour was without doubt the highlight of the team’s many achievements In motor racing, the performance margin that separates the winners from the...
Group shot of (from L-R): Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar rally car; 959 road car; 961 race car (1986) The Porsche 961 was a special racing car. Based on the roadgoing technical showcase, the Porsche 959, the Type 961 showed that it had the stamina to go the distance in endurance racing on both sides of the Atlantic. Sadly though, its competition life was restricted to just...
1973 Vasek Polak Porsche 917/10-018 Cam-Am Spyder driven by Jody Scheckter Jody Scheckter was born in East London on the east coast of South Africa, a sleepy seaside town that actually carried the honour of being the country’s motorsport centre up until the early 1960s. In 1973, Scheckter, by then a 23-year old fast-climbing motorsport star, had moved ‘overseas’ and had been criss-crossing the Atlantic...
We never forget where we come from. Our tradition and our history are part of our DNA. And we are aware that our heritage is both – an honor and an obligation. This is why we have built the new Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen – a place designed to inspire visitors from all over the world and to display the diversity of the Porsche brand....
This Porsche 908/02 Flunder Spyder is one of the most extensively raced examples of one of Porsche’s most successful sports racing cars ever. In its inaugural season, chassis 908/02-018 was victorious with works pairing Jo Siffert and Brian Redman at the 1969 Watkins Glen 6 Hours – competing prolifically in successive decades right into modern times. Air-cooled prototypes The 908 and the 917 alike were...
Fourteen years before the Cayenne was introduced, Ferry Porsche made a statement that seemed to have foretold of the Cayenne, saying, “If we build an off-road model according to our standards of quality, and it has a Porsche crest on the front, people will buy it.” The Cayenne, since its introduction in 2002, has been one of the major pulls to Porsche’s consistent global success....
A 911 Turbo Sonderwunsch and the new Panamera were among the highlights of Dubai’s annual Icons of Porsche festival. Fans of classic cars, arts, and culture were on hand to commemorate 75 years of Porsche sports cars, as well as 60 years of the 911. The gathering at the Dubai Design District was treated to the first public display of the new Panamera, as well...
Celebrations for the #55 Porsche 550 Spyder after finishing third in the 1954 La Carrera Panamericana. Sitting on the #55 car is Herbert Linge (left and Hans Herrmann (right). Sitting on the #56 car is driver Jaroslav Juhan with Porsche PR supremo Baron Huschke von Hanstein standing between the drivers with white cap and tie The origin of the model name, Porsche Carrera, is not...
Le Mans 24 Hours, 18-19 June 1983: By midnight, the #3 Rothmans 956 of Vern Schuppan/Al Holbert/Hurley Haywood was leading the field by a lap after a seventh place start on the grid. With just an hour to go and with Holbert behind the wheel, the lead looked secure until a door flew off down the Mulsanne Straight necessitating a replacement. The airflow over the...
Porsche 907
The Porsche 907 has probably received the least amount of coverage of all Porsche’s 1960s ‘plastic prototypes’. But this lack of attention is unjustified, as the 907 played just as important a role in Porsche’s rise to motorsport stardom as any of the other successful Porsche racers of the time. Powered by an assortment of different engines, as most racing Porsches were, the 907 nevertheless...
Jägermeister Porsche 934 chassis #930 670 0167 The Jägermeister 934 is one of the most recognisable liveries in the world of motor racing. It adorned the bodies of some of the great race cars in the 1970s and 1980s, and irrespective of whether the car won a race or not, it was usually the crowd’s favourite. The 1970s was a period of great experimentation and...
Porsche 904/8 (chassis #008) photographed in the Porsche Museum, September 2020 F.A. ‘Butzi’ Porsche, the eldest son of Ferry and Dorothea Porsche, joined the family business in 1958 having shown great interest in the field of industrial design. Working under the direction of Erwin Komenda, F.A. Porsche set about learning the business from the inside, and was soon given the task of ‘working’ on the...
12 Hours of Sebring, 18 March 1978: The #9 Dick Barbour Racing Porsche 935 driven by Brian Redman, Charles Mendez and Bob Garretson In the early to mid-1970’s I had been working part time (race weekends) as an IMSA tech inspector at some of the races, mainly the ones that I could fit into my work schedule of my day job as an engineer. At...
The formidable Carrera 6 outside the Porsche headquarters, Stuttgart Zuffenhausen, 1966 The Carrera Six, as Porsche officially called the 906, was a radically different car from its predecessor, the 904 GTS. The 904 was a sleek glass fibre bodied racer penned by Butzi Porsche, and it took over as Porsche’s competition model following such illustrious forebears as the RS 718 and RS 61 which brought...
Le Mans 24 Hours, 20/21 June 1964: Porsche 904/8 of Edgar Barth/Herbert Linge before the start of the race The introduction of the Type 904 heralded a new direction for Porsche’s race cars. Gone were the aluminium-bodied racers, as the 904 spearheaded a generation of GRP-bodied Porsches that culminated in the World Manufacturers’ Championship title, and that all-important Le Mans 24 Hour crown. This is...
Herbert Linge on ONS duty again with a 911 at Hockenheim in 1973.
Porsche’s Forrest Gump—the irrepressible Herbert Linge—pops up everywhere in Porsche history even after his retirement almost thirty years ago. The amazingly varied Porsche career of Herbert Linge would be unimaginable today—from wartime apprentice to manager of Weissach via workshop, development testing, race track, Porsche in the US, and Formula 1. Already a Member? Sign in to your account here....
To date, 27 different variants make up the current generation of the 911 model line-up. Chatting to its developers at a ‘speed dating’ event made one thing clear above all: each Porsche 911 has its own story. Chaos is the enemy of the engineer. Perhaps that would explain why there are usually empty seats in lecture theatres during talks on fluid mechanics. This topic is...
Tools of the trade Metal blades and scrapers, delicate wire loops, wooden sculpting tools, and brushes – this suitcase contains over a hundred instruments. But what they’re used for is not immediately clear. They’re the tools of a modeler, at the exterior studio of Style Porsche, who is responsible for producing clay models of future sports cars– one of the first steps on the path...
When discussing breakthroughs in sportscar technology, the Porsche 959 merits its own chapter, if not a book. Introduced in the mid-1980s, this genuine supercar emerged as a spearhead of innovation, vastly surpassing the technology Porsche had developed to date. While the standard 911 was not short on performance or prestige, the 959 took its legacy further, introducing features that were well ahead of the entire...

Porsche People Profiles

Porsche has a rich history of amazing personalities, whether it be designers, managers, engineers or race car drivers.

Roland Kussmaul
Except perhaps at one or two retirement parties or other formal occasions, no one ever saw Roland Kussmaul wearing a suit and tie. Racing or workshop overalls, Porsche’s pit lane...
Obviously these two attractive models from the lingerie manufacturer Triumph (München) like this Porsche 914/6 – Rutesheim Athletics Club, Baden-Württemberg, Germany (1969) Very different from previous production Porsches, the 914...
Arno Bohn at Weissach with the 968 Cabriolet (1991) Arno Bohn was managing director of Porsche from 1990-92. An outsider who came from the computer industry, he arrived at a...
Anatole Lapine, 1973 Anatole Lapine who was in charge of styling at Porsche under two disparate CEOs, Fuhrmann and Schutz, looks back on quite a CV: Chevrolet Corvette, Opel GT,...
Rallye Paris-Dakar 1984: Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 4×4 (Type 953) – driven by (from L-R) #175 Jacky Ickx, #176 René Metge, #177 Roland Kussmaul For many years, the éminence grise...
Tilman Brodbeck poses with a 1973 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Coupé (left) and a 911 Sport Classic (right) – 21 September 2009 To be able to write on your résumé...
Mark Webber being interviewed at the Geneva Motor Show 2014, on the occasion of the world debut of the Porsche 919 Hybrid Porsche’s return to the top category of the...
The formidable Carrera 6 outside the Porsche headquarters, Stuttgart Zuffenhausen, 1966 The Carrera Six, as Porsche officially called the 906, was a radically different car from its predecessor, the 904...
Porsche 911 991.1 GT3 RS
Jean Behra following his accident at Caracas 3 November 1957 Staring out of period black and white photographs, Jean Behra’s handsome, but battered face tells its own story: a combative...
Dr. Ulrich Bez (1988) Hailing from the Bad Cannstatt district of Stuttgart, Ulrich Bez, who as Porsche Technical supremo hatched the 993, had two significant stints at Porsche. During the...
Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood won the 24 Hours of Daytona on 3/4 February 1973 driving this 911 Carrera RSR 2.8 Peter Gregg was the IMSA driver every one strived...
Autograph card signed by Jürgen Barth (ca. 1980) More books have been written about Porsche than any other car company so the publication in English of another tome is hardly...
Valentin Schäffer (1978) Another keen young recruitee to Zuffenhausen in the early 1950s, Valentin Schäffer, would become Porsche’s racing turbo specialist and engineer the induction systems that endowed Porsche sports...

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