Ferdinand Porsche was a car designer and engineer. His career accomplishments were astounding, but not to those who knew him growing up. At the age of 15, Porsche built an energy generator during a time when the lightbulb was the most advanced technology available. Only the mayor in his home city had electricity at the house.
In 1900, Porsche created a hybrid-electric car under the name of his employer, Lohner-Porsche. Called the “Semper Vivus,” the car was an instant sensation at the Paris Motor Show and made Porsche a famous engineer overnight. It used an internal combustion motor as a generator and was also the first car with brakes on all four wheels.
In 1924, Porsche was approached by the German government to develop an affordable family car that could be economically mass-produced. The result was the Volkswagen (VW) Beetle.
Porsche had other noteworthy accomplishments in his automotive career. He was also the personal driver for the Prince of Hungary and Bohemia, the Archduke Franz Ferdninand.
In 1931, Porsche founded his own company to develop cars, motorcycles, and engines of all types.
Like other vehicle manufacturers, Porsche changed lanes during the Second World War to create military equipment. However, the “Porsche Tiger” did not win on its design. Only five were produced, four of which never saw action on the battlefield.
Porsche developed their first passenger car in 1939 — the Porsche 64. It became the basis for all future models, but only three of the production cars ever left the factory. Their approach to improving with each new vehicle release made them famous for comfort and design, but also gave them huge results in racing. That led them to create both a road-legal and racing variant of each car model. In a 50 year period, Porsche vehicles won over 28,000 victories in different speed racing categories.
The Porsche 356, predecessor of the 911, debuted in 1948 as their first production automobile. Both models were two-door, rear-wheel drive, and had an option for hard or folding top. 76,000 Porsche 356s were produced, and at least half are still functioning today! In fact, two-thirds of all Porsches ever produced are still around!
The Porsche 911 was introduced to the public at the International Motor Show in 1963. It was actually named the 901 at the time, until it was discovered the Peugeot reserved rights to model names of three digits with a zero in the middle. Today, it’s design is one of the most recognizable and has been the most mass-produced luxury supercar in the world.