This year’s Geneva Show in March saw two exciting new Porsche models unveiled, the 911 Turbo and 911 GT3, which join what is already a broad and highly attractive range of sports cars. During the Show, Porsche AG also disclosed the best ever half-year financial results in the history of the Company.
The success of Porsche is based, firstly, on efficient production methods and clear brand management, and, as the second and most important point, on decades of experience in development going far beyond the production of sports cars alone. Indeed, over a number of decades, Porsche has acquired the reputation of one of the most renowned and versatile providers of engineering services the world over.
This area of the business conducted by Porsche Engineering Group GmbH in Weissach near Stuttgart goes back to the oldest forerunner company preceding Porsche AG as we know it today. On 25 April 1931, Ferdinand Porsche founded and Engineering Office in Stuttgart under the name Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche Gesellschaft mit beschrankter Haftung, Konstruktion und Beratung fur Motoren- und Fahrzeugbau (Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche Ltd., Construction and Consultancy Company for Engine and Vehicle Production), and subsequently had the new Company entered in the trade register.
Despite the economic crisis in the early ’30s, this step into independence was by no means a rash move made by the experienced engineer and production expert, but rather the logical consequence of Ferdinand Porsche’s professional career: At the time, Ferdinand Porsche was able to look back at more than 30 years of successful activities with the leading car manufacturers of his time.
At the age of just 24, Porsche quite literally hit the headlines for the first time at the Paris World Exhibition in the year 1900, presenting a vehicle with an electrically driven wheel hub motor he had built on behalf of the Lohner Coach Factory in Vienna, a purveyor to the Austrian Royal Family. In the same year, he also built the Lohner-Porsche Mixte, the first vehicle ever to feature a combination of gasoline and electric drive – and, therefore, the first predecessor to today’s cars with hybrid drive. And just shortly thereafter, Ferdinand Porsche introduced all-wheel-drive technology and the four-wheel brake system into the world of automobile production.
In 1906 Porsche was appointed Technical Director of Austro-Daimler in Wiener Neustadt, making him responsible at the young age of just 31 for the products developed and built by one of the most significant European carmakers. One of his greatest successes at the time was the Prinz-Heinrich Car, which brought home the first three places for the Austro-Daimler Works Team in 1910 in the renowned and fiercely contested Prinz-Heinrich Race covering a distance of 1,495 kilometers or 927 miles from Berlin to Bad Homburg near Frankfurt. Creating the Austro-Daimler Sascha, he also developed a small car able to successfully beat competitors with much larger engines in the 1922 Targa Florio in Sicily, ultimately scoring no less than 43 racing wins.
In 1923 Ferdinand Porsche joined the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in Stuttgart-Unterturkheim as their Technical Director. Apart from the midrange Type 8/38 and the first Mercedes-Benz with an eight-cylinder power unit, the Type 460 Nurburg, it was above all supercharged sports and racing cars which continued to strengthen Porsche’s reputation as a truly outstanding automotive engineer.
The sports and racing cars developed under his guidance and proudly bearing the abbreviations S (Sport), SS (SuperSport), and SSK (Super Sport Kurz or Short) were among the most desirable cars of their time.
In January 1929 Porsche left Daimler-Benz AG, spent a short time with Steyr-Werke in Austria, and then returned to Stuttgart in late 1930 where he established his own Engineering Office in Kronenstrasse 24.