5 facts about Ferdinand Porsche that will shock you

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What if I told you the success of Ferdinand Porsche relied on electric cars and six other automakers?

Inspired by the opportunity to celebrate Ferdinand Porsche’s Birthday on September 3rd (Yes, the creator/founder of Porsche), we did a bit of digging to learn about the name behind the badge of our favorite supercars for the track, the 911 GT3.   

image xtreme xperience Porsche 911 GT3s in black and white at the track

Classic 911 style with new-age attitude

Now, we know that Ferdinand the great has not been with us for some time (he passed in 1951), however many of his principles live in the works of art we see on the road today. It would also be asinine to think that the success of the marque depended on anything but the vision of Ferdinand, and his knowledge of automotive design. So, let’s take a shallow dive into his past and you can tell us whether or not you agree. 

Ferdinand Porsche’s History is Electric!

The crazy part about F.Porsche’s journey is, where and how it all began. Reading up on F.Porsche quickly became fascinating. Austria’s Ferdinand Porsche designed one of the first electric wheel hubs built for automobiles in 1898, at the age of 22. It was hard to believe that Porsche and electric cars had anything in common; Mainly because, the first electric motor fitted to any consumer cars developed by the stalwarts of Stuttgart, happened to be in 2014, on the Panamera Hybrid. That’s only 113 years later for anyone counting.

Hybrid tech quick changed in Porsche’s world, as their flagship car is currently the Porsche 918 Spyder. The 918 truly embraced hybrid technology for performance enhancement, as it was a clear distinction between practicality and ‘OMG WHAT DID YOU DO TO THIS THING’?! But, I’m guessing you already knew that. By adding electric tech to its drivetrain, the 918 is the fastest and most powerful Porsche on the road to-date.

image chris harris driving porsche 918 spyder

The Porsche 918 Spyder

Look, you may be in disbelief, but these are the facts. While you attempt to wrap your head around that, I bet it’s much clearer to understand their decision to build the future electric sports car, the Porsche Mission E. Right? Hybrids have been performing well for them, so an attempt to be on the leading edge of “what’s next” isn’t far fetched.

If that doesn’t spark your interest of Ferdinand Porsche’s history, we discovered details about his climb to success that surely will.

5 facts about Porsche that will shock you:

  1. The first car Porsche helped design was not only electric, but it was dubbed the “P1” (Porsche #1). We’re not pointing any fingers, but there’s an interesting coincidence if we’ve ever seen one.

  2. Mr. Porsche was immensely passionate about the performance of the cars he designed. This is why he spent his time at races around the world, such as the Targa Florio. Paving the way for guys like Enzo Ferrari. In fact, six automaker’s (Lohner, Austro-Daimler, Mercedes-Benz, Steyr-Werke, Auto Union (Audi), and Cisitalia) vehicles used in motorsport were influenced by F.Porsche’s designs. All over a span of 33 years!
    1. Bonus: Porsche and his posse were typically waiting at the finish line, or standing on the podium, post-race. Not a bad place to start out in motorsports, eh?

  3. Mr. Porsche’s knowledge in electronics eventually lead to the pioneering of combustion systems that relied on electric motors for support (basically, early versions of hybrids we see today). Even systems in the 1900s built by F.Porsche were sophisticated enough to return power back to its motors – similar to the technology used today.
    1. Bonus: For a brief period of time, his hybrid systems were even used to create trains (Landwehr-Train). Quite frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t try racing those!

  4. Ferdinand became quite popular in the world of automotive engineering and design. So much so, he was in cahoots with Adolf Hitler (Yeah. You read that right) building tanks used in WWII. Together, Volkswagen (the “people’s car”) was born under Adolf’s regime, and that vehicle is still recognizable today. In their current line up, it’s VW’s Beetle.
    1. Bonus: This wasn’t his style. “During the building process, Estonian car magazine wrote, “People’s car (Volkswagen) is a headache! Dr.Porsche, the constructor of the Auto-Union racing cars, said that it is easier to build 10 racing cars than 1 people’s car.” (Stuttcars.com, Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951)) Sounds good to us!

  5. Mr. Porsche’s involvement with the Nazis resulted in some jail time. Lucky for us, it didn’t stop his son, Ferry Porsche, from completing the build of what would become Porsche’s first branded car, the 356 No.1. Not a bad welcome home present!

photo of the 356 no.1 with designer Erwin Komenda, Ferry Porsche, and Ferdinand Porsche

Erwin Komenda, Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand Porsche, 356 no.1

There are dozens of other facts and stories that tie advancements in automotive technology to the name and brand of Porsche. Too many to count, but all are worth learning about. All of which ladder up to Porsche being one of the most successful auto manufacturers in the history of motorsports.

Drive a Porsche and you will quickly understand why they’re cherished by so many driving enthusiasts in the world, dating back to its very first models they produced. We believe, the R&D gained from their time spent in motorsports, have a defined place in all past, present and future Porsche vehicles. The marque’s influence in motorsports is so deeply rooted, that they lead to Ferdinand Porsche’s first-ever position in the Automotive industry-the electric wheel hub at Lohner & Co.

Now, it’s time to say thank you and happy birthday to Mr. Porsche with a few laps at the track, in the 911 GT3 (991)! Auf Wiedersehen!

Did you find out something about Porsche that got you all amped up? Let us know in the comments below. 

Before you go. Check out our Porsche 911 GT3 in action!


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