Biography of Ferdinand Porsche

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Ferdinand Porsche was born in Maffersdorf, Austria (now in the Czech Republic) on September 3, 1875. At age 18 he found a job in Vienna. While working in Vienna he audited a few courses at the technical university for the only engineering training he ever received. A few years later he took his first job in the automotive industry with Jacob Lohner. There he was involved in the design of an electric car, the Lohner-Porsche. That first car by Porsche set land speed records in Austria, speeding up to a remarkable 35 miles per hour. Later he participated in the development of a mixed car using an internal combustion engine combined with electrical power. In 1905 he won the Austrian Poetting Prize as Austria?s outstanding automotive designer.

On the strength of Porsche?s earlier work he was offered a position with the Austrian division of the Daimler automobile company (today Daimler/Chrysler) as its chief designer. After several successful designs of early Mercedes he also worked on airplane engines, fire trucks, buses, wind electric generators and even an agricultural tractor. By 1923 he moved to the company?s headquarters in Stuttgart as technical director. There he developed several more very successful Mercedes models. In 1924 the Technical College of Stuttgart awarded him an honorary doctoral degree in engineering on the basis of his achievements.

Since his days at Austro-Daimler he had a personal dream of a mass produced automobile which could be produced cheaply enough to be affordable for the average citizen. He made a proposal for such a car to his employers at Mercedes-Benz, but was disappointed that there was no interest at Mercedes for his plan. Irritated, he left the company.

In 1931 he founded his own compa...

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...h the Distinguished Service Cross. In 1965 he was presented with an honorary doctoral degree by the Vienna Technical College. In 1972 Porsche converted the company into a stock company with shares available to the public. The family, however, retained essential control with family stock holdings and seats on the board of directors. The name of the company was retained, ?Dr. Ing. h.c.F. Porsche? but now with the addition of the letters AG (Aktiengesellschaft: stock based company).

Ferry Porsche was given numerous awards for achievement. In 1984 he was presented with the title of ?Professor? by the Minister-Präsident (Chief Minister) of the state of Baden-Württemberg, Lothar Spath. Porsche remained as the chairman of the board of Porsche until 1990 when he retired and became the honorary chairman. Ferdinand (Ferry) Porsche died at the age of 88 on March 27, 1998.

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