SEVENTY YEARS AGO, the first Porsche sports car was born, creating a brand synonymous with superb engineering, timeless design, and automotive performance at the very highest level. The first vehicle to bear the Porsche name was registered on June 8, 1948: it was the 356 “No.1” Roadster. The Type 356 turned the sports car dream of Ferry Porsche into a reality.
On June 8, 1948, the first Porsche prototype with chassis number 356-001 received its general operating permit. It was the birth of the brand Porsche. To mark the occasion, Porsche hosted a special exhibition in Berlin from March 20th to May 31st, 2018 that I was fortunate to attend at “Drive” the Volkswagen Group Forum exhibit and mini museum with free of charge admission to its rotating exhibits. This special exhibition was divided into ten topics, each offering captivating insights into the history of the brand and bringing to life various elements of the fascination of Porsche. It focused on the brand’s outstanding sports car developments over the last 70 years and on the people behind the brand.
The history of the Porsche brand begins in 1948. Yet the foundation of the sports car manufacturer is built upon the life’s work of its father, Professor Ferdinand Porsche – work which his son Ferry then continued in developing. Ferdinand Porsche had already designed pioneering innovations for the automotive industry as early as the start of the last century. In 1900, he built an electric car with a wheel hub drive known as the Lohner-Porsche, a vehicle on which he would then base the world’s first all-wheel-drive passenger car. In the same year, he created a template for hybrid vehicles with the development of a mixed petrol-electric powertrain. In 1931, Ferdinand Porsche founded his own engineering office. The “Berlin-Rome Car” showcased in 1939 was the beginning of his idea for a sports car bearing the Porsche name, although this dream was only realized by his son Ferry in 1948 with the Type 356.
The successor model to the 356, the truly iconic Porsche 911 designed by the son of Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand Alexander, finally gave the company its breakthrough as one of the leading manufacturers of sports cars in the world, both from a technical and a design perspective. The Porsche 911, presented to the global public for the first time in 1963, has now been built over a million times.
Porsche is celebrating this anniversary with numerous activities around the world throughout 2018. On June 9, the Porsche Museum will be opening an extensive special exhibition at its Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen site to mark the anniversary. On the same day, Porsche will be inviting fans to its “Sports Car Together Day” at all of its sites around the world. For the weekend of June 16–17, the factory will host employees, residents of the Zuffenhausen district and prospective customers at a public celebration in and around the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. The “Festival of Speed”, held from July 12–15, at the Goodwood race track in the UK, will also celebrate the anniversary, as will “Rennsport Reunion” in California from September 27–30. The 70 Years celebrations will conclude with a “Sound Night” event to be held for the first time in the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart on October 13. Further information is available at: www.porsche.com/museum </>