A Ride Through History: The Fascinating Evolution of Porsche
Porsche is a legendary performance car company, but it wasn’t supposed to be a full-fledged car company. Let’s learn more about the history of Porsche.
Most people know about the Porsche 911 and have heard the name at some time in their lives, but many don’t know this performance car brand dates back to 1930. The first official car came in 1948 and was called the 356, but the groundwork for this car began many years before when Professor Ferdinand Porsche opened the first order book in 1930 and began to record the starting point of his company.
The company becomes official
In those early days, the Wanderer company had developed Volkswagen, which was the car for the people, but the goal was to add a luxury car to the mix. This brought Professor Porsche into the mix with order number 7, which was called a “small-car project.” Porsche began his efforts in his son’s bedroom but eventually put the company in the official ledger and moved the offices to Stuttgart at the beginning of 1931. At this time, Ferdinand Porsche had not intended to build his own cars but to provide technical projects for several clients, giving him the ability to collect licensing fees and patent royalties. Things changed quickly.
The son follows the father
Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand’s son, first signed the order books with order number 9, which was for a “connecting rod with screw and bolt.” This signature appeared in the book on January 30, 1931, showing the younger Porsche to be the apprentice. Ferry would eventually turn the design office in Stuttgart into the Porsche Automobile Company. This early part of the history of Porsche has the team working to understand the direction of the company, which would become a global performance giant.
Porsche built an Auto Union racer
Auto Union commissioned Porsche to build a racing car for the 1933 season. If you’re unfamiliar, Auto Union is one of the four companies that eventually became Audi. The race car was to be a sixteen-cylinder model using the rules of the 750-kg racing formula. The commission came in 1932, and the new Porsche Type 22 mid-engine P race car was created. This new car that was badged with Auto Union logos was a Grand Prix car that set new standards for racing. This race car project was the beginning of what would become a legendary company.
The next big project in 1948
After World War II, The Porsche family set up shop once again. With 200 workers in their location in 1948, the team began engineering racing machines. Over the previous 18 years, Ferdinand Sr. has engineered parts of Daimler-Benz models and designed the first Volkswagen Beetle. His innovation and expertise became the foundation for what would eventually become the first Porsche sports car, the 356. This car only had 40 horsepower from its rear-mounted engine, which made it seem like a souped-up Beetle, but it provided impressive handling, comfort, and reliability to be one of the best sports cars of the time.
The Porsche 911 changed everything
The Porsche 356 became a legend in the mid-1950s with more powerful engines that were developed by the younger Porsche. The most impressive of these legendary cars was the first Porsche 911 model. This rear-engine car became the standard by which all other performance cars have been measured. Although one of the first models in the history of Porsche, the 911 has transcended time and carried forward through various generations as one of the longest-running and most impressive sports cars in history.
Ferdinand never saw the Porsche 911
Professor Ferdinand Porsche died in 1951. Although his son Ferry, also officially named Ferdinand, carried on his legacy, it’s sad to think the originator of the Porsche name never got to see the greatest creation of his company. The same year that Ferdinand Sr. died, the Porsche 356 reached 60 horsepower in the engine, which was an impressive figure for the time.
Can the engine work in the front?
Porsche is well-known for utilizing a rear-mounted engine layout, which was first developed for the Volkswagen Beetle and improved for the Porsche line of sports cars. In the 1970s, Porsche introduced a series of front-engine models, starting with the four-cylinder 924 in 1976. A more powerful V-8 engine, 928 arrived in 1978, which also featured a front-engine layout.
Porsche has been around for nearly 100 years, and during that time, many Porsche-branded sports cars have taken to the streets and tracks around the world, capturing many trophies. This brief history of Porsche offers a glimpse into how a car company began and then took off through several decades.
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