Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, an icon in the automotive industry has passed away at the age of 76. Ferdinand created one of the greatest legacies in automotive design with the Porsche 911.
The son of company founder Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand was known to spend most of his career at the eponymous firm Porsche Design, where he oversaw the styling of thousands of products from watches to yachts, many with the tag "Designed by F.A. Porsche."
But it's the 911's that made him a historic figure. While his father and grandfather had been famous German engineers, Ferry Porsche engineered the first Volkswagen Beetle. Ferdinand chose to study design. A year after enrolling in a prestigious school, he was kicked out... Then took at job at his father's fledging car business in 1957.
At that time, Ferry Porsche had created the successful Porsche 356, but needed a follow-up model. He set the car's basic layout, and pushed the designers and engineers to fashion a more sporting look than the men who built the Beetle had produced so far.
Prowling the auto shows of Europe, Ferdinand formed an idea of how the car should look as a smooth, curving fastback, and rejecting the flat angles popular in American cars of the era.
The new car's design spurred a dispute with the older designers in Ferry Porsche's shop, to such a degree Ferry went around them, taking his son's blueprints to the body fabricator. The first production-ready model, called the 901, appeared at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 1964, and after Peugeot objected to the name, Porsche changed it to 911. Despite the timelessness of the 911's shape, Ferdinand believed his greatest design came a few years later, with the Porsche 904 race car.
When the company went public in 1971, the Porsche family withdrew from management roles — although Ferdinand would remain a presence on the company's board and in its design studios.
We thank you for your designs and positive impact on the automotive industry…