In 1875 Ferdinand Porsche was born, in 1898 and at just 23 years old built the first Egger Lohner C2 electric car with 3-5hp and a top speed of 25 km/h. In 1931 he founded his first company in Stuttgart, which his son joined as an assistant, later taking over the management of the company. As he couldn’t find the car he had envisioned, he decided to build it himself and that’s where the idea for the Porsche 356 raise.
Thus, on June 8, 1948, the Porsche 356 was born, which had a weight of 585 kg and a 35 hp engine and quickly became a huge success, whose sales initially estimated at 500 units turned into a total of 78,000 units sold. The Porsche 356 on July 1, 1948, was already participating in the 1st race in Innsbruck.
One of the biggest curiosities unknown to the general public is the reason why most Porsches still present the ignition on the left side, and that is due solely and exclusively to the early participation of the brand in the 24 Hours of Le Man’s race since In the past these races started with the drivers standing on one side of the track and the car on the other and when the start was given they had to run and jump into the car and so with this innovation they could use their left hand to turn on the ignition and use the right to shift gears, thus giving a small advantage to Porsche.
The production of the 356 lasted almost two decades, between 1948 and 1965, and among some special units there is a model 356 offered to Ferdinand Porsche in 1950 for its 75th anniversary, which had some special extras, such as the Telefunken tube, and come at the front with two individual seats that at the time to have had to be paid as an extra.
In 1953, the Porsche 550 Spyder (known as the James Dean car) was born, a racing car produced in small numbers, only 90 units, and competed in the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico and was the first car to be advertised. In 1956, in its last year of production, Umberto Maglioli won the Targa Florio in Sicily in a Porsche 550 Spyder, which is the origin of the name “911 Targa”.
And so, in 1963, the emblematic Porsche 911 appears, presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Initially, the Porsche 911 had 130hp, a maximum speed of 210km/h, a 2.0L engine, a 6-cylinder boxer (which still remains today), round shapes on the instrument panel, with counter-rotations in the centre, since for those who drive a racing car it is more important to know when to shift gears than the speed at which you drive.
At the end of the 60s, the Porsche 908 appeared, a competition car that had a fibreglass structure and that, in 1969, through its longer version known as the “Long Talle”, had the tightest arrival ever by losing the 24 Hours of Le Mans by just 100m, for the Ford GT piloted by Jack Ickx, who would later join Porsche where he won this competition four times.
In 1969 Porsche 917 Coupé is presented at the Geneva Motor Show, with a V12 engine, 5.0Lt, 600cv, whose project leader Ferdinand Piëch, grandson of the founder, had the purpose of reaching 400 km/h and winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a competition that which would win in 1970 and 1971 through the “Pig Pink” which would become the most photographed car and which initially was white, being the widest Porsche ever with a rear measuring 2.22m.
In 1973 the Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 was born, the fastest car in Germany of its time, initially it was expected to sell 500 units but in the end, more than 1,500 were sold. The car presented a lightness in construction materials and aerodynamic elements, such as the famous “duck tail” and the famous “Fuchs rim”. Its resurgence takes place only in 2010, in the 997 Sport Classic.
In the 1980s, the Porsche 956, Group C, appeared, which became the best-ranked Porsche car at Le Mans, with a total of 7 victories. It should also be noted that in 1983 it occupied the first 8 places and in 1987 it won the race with an impressive advance of almost 260 km. Mathematically and taking into account the optimized underbody and aerodynamics it can be said that it could go upside down at 321.4 km/h and is therefore known as the anti-gravity car.
In 1983 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Porsche presented the Porsche 959 to the world, the fastest car in the world at the time, with hydraulic chassis and water-cooled cylinder heads, a limited edition of just 292 units. Among the famous owners were the King of Spain Juan Carlos, Bill Gates, and Jerry Seinfeld, although it was introduced in 1983 and since then it started accepting orders but only started to be delivered in 1987. It was also the first Porsche that came with traction and so to test him Porsche took him to the Paris-Dakar Rally in 1986, winning the race in his debut year and renewing the title the following year. It would also participate in the 24 hours of Le Mans with all-wheel drive.
It is already in 1992 that Porsche launches the 911 Turbo S generation 964, which appeared in Porsche’s Speed Yellow colour, in an even more limited edition than the 959, only 86 units were produced and with an astronomical price of 290,000 DM. With a construction based on lightness and sporty interiors, without electric windows or air conditioning, but where speed was its maximum exponent.
In 1993 at the Detroit Motor Show, Porsche presents its Boxter model for the first time, with fans in the doors, interior display and other very interesting details, which hits the market three years later in 1996, and becomes a tremendous success, that same year, half of the total brand’s sales are of its new Boxter model. The name derives from the junction of the words Boxer, for having a boxer engine, and the word Roadster, for being a convertible. Two curiosities about the car, the Porsche Boxter was the first model of the brand to have a name, since until that time all models were called 924, 968 and 911. The second curiosity is that the prototype presented in 1993 never had an engine, not even in the presentation.
It is in 2003 that the Porsche Carrera GT appears, which would be produced until 2006 with a limited production of 1,279 units, which was equipped with a V10 engine with a power of 612cv, its construction had the support of Walter Röhrl racing driver. It featured magnesium rims and a full carbon fibre chassis, raised centre console. One of the curiosities about the Carrera GT, is that the car’s front luggage compartment of only 76Lt and the two pieces of the roof were placed, while its fuel tank came with a capacity of 90Lt and therefore exceeded its trunk.
It is in 2010 that the German brand presents the first Porsche racing hybrid, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid which runs between 2010 and 2011 at the Nurburgring and Nordschleife circuits, which had better energy efficiency as it came with a flywheel on the right side of the engine, that delivered 36,000 to 40,000 rpm and that gave it an extra power of 200hp giving it a huge advantage over its competitors, in addition to having super-light construction materials such as its plastic rear window.
It is in the path of hybrids and in 2010, Porsche presents the 918 Spyder, a hybrid with three engines – an electric one at the front and one at the rear and a V8 engine on top, both electrics offering 286cv in a total of 887cv of power, which allows it to reach a maximum speed of 345kms/h, a total of 918 units were produced. It features a wing which folds up, active aerodynamics at the underbody, react steering… In 2013 the series type cars with a series type tire, it was the first one to go under seven minutes (6 minutes and 57 seconds) at the famous Nurburgring notch live.
In 2014 Porsche presents the 919 Hybrid EVO, which wins 6 world championships and recorded 3 Le Man’s victories. It comes with two engines – an electric engine on the front with the battery sitting on the right side of the driver, 800-volt technology delivering 440cv and on the top a V4 2L single turbocharged engine delivering 720cv, which allows the car to reach from 0 to 300kms/h in just 8 seconds. In 2017 for the final race it came up with a special livery, everybody who was involved in this project found their names on the car.
Photos Credits: Porsche Media/Press Center