The man who is credited with the design of the most famous Porsche models of all, the original 911, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, died last Thursday in Salzburg, Austria at age 76, of unknown causes.
The 911 is one of the few cars that, with the exception of some basic restyling and technological advances, still looks strikingly similar to its original model. The 911 also remains one of the top luxury sports cars in the world. This is a great tribute to the designing genius of F.A. Porsche, as those inside of the company knew him.
Porsche CEO Matthias Müller issued this statement: “We mourn the death of our partner, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. As the creator of the Porsche 911, he established a design culture in our company that has shaped our sports cars to this very day. His philosophy of good design is a legacy to us that we will honour for all time.”
Porsche was born on December 11, 1935 and quickly got into the family business as just a young boy, though not actually on the payroll. It was not until he competed his schooling in 1958 that he joined the company as an employee. Just four years later, he took over the design studio at Porsche.
Along with the production cars, Porsche also designed racing models, including the legendary Type 804 Formula One racing car and the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS.
In the 1970s, Porsche left the company in the control of other family members and focused on designing eyeglasses, watches, and pens in his own studio, dubbed Porsche Design Studio. From 1990 to 1993, he rejoined Porsche AG, as a chairman, and helped guide the company back to greatness after a steep decline in sales through the 1980s. Porsche eventually left his Supervisory Board role to his son Oliver and took over the mantle of Honorary President of the Supervisory Board in 2005.