Ferdinand Porsche, a young cutting edge engineer, designed his very first car as an electric-gas hybrid in 1900, long before he formed the Porsche company. Over the years, Mr. Porsche worked for many other automakers such as Mercedes, Daimler, Volkswagen, and Auto Union for nearly 50 years.
One of Ferdinand’s claims to fame is the design of the VW Beetle in 1931. Ferdinand’s son Ferry grew up in the family business and joined his father’s team as a draftsman and test driver. When Ferdinand was locked up in a French prison as a war criminal, Ferry worked the family business keeping it afloat by designing race cars; Ferry Porsche’s claim to fame is the design of the 356. Designed with a rear-mounted 40 horsepower Volkswagen engine, won races the first month after leaving the factory.
Ferdinand Porsche passed away in 1951 at the age of 76 with a reasonably successful car company to hold as an accomplishment. In 1963 the flagship Porsche 911 (formerly called the 901) was designed and rolled off the production line in 1964. This 2 liter, six-cylinder engine put out 130 horsepower to the wheels, which far surpassed its sister the Targa.
The mid-1960s brought an end to the production of the 356 and out rolled the 912. In 1970 a mid-engine car, the Porsche 914 was the newest on the line. In true out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new fashion in 1976, the front-engined 924 replaced the 914. The 928 came into production in 1978 and was powered with a 240 horsepower V8. In 1985 Porsche debuted their latest supercar, the 959 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. In 1987, 250,000 Porsche 911s were in production. Talk about numbers to make one’s head spin.
Porsche had a fantastic reputation on the track for winning races around the world. In 1951, the 356 SL won in their class at Le Mans, and in 1956 the 550n Spyder won at the Targa Florio. In the 1960s and 1970s, Porsche took victories in the Nurburgring 100, the Daytona 24 hours, the Can-Am series, and the World Championship of Makes. In the 1980’s the Porsche 911 Carrera 4×4 and the 959 were champions of the Paris-Dakar Rally.
Porsche was a private company until 1984 when they finally went public. The company was always controlled by the Porsche and Piech (the son-in-law of Ferdinand) families. The two families wished to continue to control the company and so retained 50% of the shares. Ferry passed away in 1988.
In 1990 Porsche introduced the Tiptronic clutchless manual transmission, a revolutionary innovation that was at the top of the curve for nearly 20 years. The Tiptronic transmission was eventually replaced by the dual-clutch PDK system in 2009 and was installed in the Carrera 911.
The 1990s were a tough time for the Porsche company. They struggled to keep their independence and were nearly taken over by a parent company. Former head of production, Dr. Wendelin Wiedekin stepped in as CEO, bringing the companies focus back to the 911. The mid-engine Boxster was introduced and the front-end models discontinued. Porsche celebrated its 1,000,000th car in production in the summer of 1996. In 2008, Porsche grew strong enough to take over one-third of Volkswagen’s shares.
Porsche rolled out three new sports cars in 2006, the 911 Carrera, the Boxter, and the Cayman. After so many years with 9 series names, Porsche’s models finally have a roster of vehicles that are easy on the tongue. As a testament to staying in the game, as SUVs began taking over the market, Porsche introduced the Cayenne in 2007.
Today, the Porsche name still conjures up images of speed, sexy lines, a prestigious lifestyle, refined power, and agility and is still cutting edge in the automotive market today.
Our professional and highly skilled staff here at Foreign Affairs Auto in West Palm Beach is happy to service your Porsche. We do our best to ensure that your vehicle is safe and running at its best. Our first priority is always you. Make your appointment online to get things started. We hope to see you soon!