It really is unlikely that you never have heard of the Porsche automobile; you might even have enjoyed a ride in one, or just perhaps there’s one of them parked in your driveway. Even so, you may have only a vague notion of the history of the Porsche. Precisely when the Porsche automobile story started is a little unclear. In 1950, the Porsche 356 was initially introduced to the United States by Max Hoffman, but 1948 was the year that the first automobile was unveiled that had the name Porsche. Then again, to achieve a full perception of the Porsche and its mystique, we have to return to the year 1875, which saw the birth of a son to the local tinsmith of Haffersdorp, a village in Bohemia.
He was known as Ferdinand Porsche, and even though his technical genius had not been thought to have the necessary discipline for the skills of engineering. He received part-time instruction as an engineering student in Vienna, for his only formal education, but at the age of 25, he became an automobile designer. He was unquestionably exceptional as an engineer, but his erratic temperament meant that he didn’t stay with any employer and eventually he had worked for all the leading car makers in Germany. Porsche had been responsible for the design of a dozen of those cars that made spectacular technical history. Whilst doing work for Mercedes-Benz, he was involved with developing the SSK series, which is regarded with awe to this day.
Porsche launched an engineering consultation group, later known as Porsche AG, after having to leave Mercedes. He couldn’t get along with their engineering guidelines, so he was dismissed. He developed a team with several engineers he cherry-picked, with a special interest in racing cars and sports cars. One of the assignments among the countless that they landed, was to develop the luxury sedan, the Steyr, for an Austrian firm. A draft was constructed, though the project was finally abandoned. Auto Union, who later on evolved into the present-day Audi, ended up being the first to build cars that had front-wheel drive and were relatively cheap to own, and they also called on the skills of the Porsche consulting group.
The V-12 engine, and the V-16, that had been supercharged, were designed by them for the mid-engine Grand Prix racing cars. For nearly a decade, they dominated European auto racing, together with Mercedes-Benz racer. During the period following that both Zundapp and NSU applied the designs they were best known for. The rear-mounted engine, and the trademarked torsion-bar suspension, were a couple of Porsche’s prototypes. Both companies were too slow for Porsche in taking the designs to the manufacturing stage, so the concept was sold by him to the German government. His particular design ended up being manufactured in a factory at Wolfsburg, that he oversaw the construction of. On his blueprints he called it the Type 60, but it became what we all know as the Volkswagen Beetle.
It is now more than a century later, and the Porsche engineering company has positioned its mark on the automobile industry. Automobile development and engineering have benefited from the sustained and brilliant contribution of the Porsche family..