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German engineer Ferdinand Porsche is certainly one of the most important
figures - if not the most imporant and influent-in the history of automobile
making. This outstanding Teuton was born on September 3rd, 1875 in Mafferdorf,
Germany. One of the most remarkable accomplishments of his carrer was that his
work was not limited to one factory, but instead he worked in many of the most
renowned car-making factories of the time.
His life as an engineer started early, at the age of 22, when he
designed an electric engine. In 1900 he was hired by a carmaker of the time,
Lohner. He installed one of his engines on a Lohner and showed it in the Paris
World Fair. The car was the show-stopper of the event, and later obtained
positive results in several races.
Other less important events happened between 1900 and 1923, when he was
hired by the most important carmaker of the time, Daimler Motoren A.G. (Which in
1926 would join Benz to form Daimler-Benz A.G.) During this time, first with
Daimler and then with Daimler-Benz, he became member of the board of directors,
and designed the famed S (Sportlich) and SS (Super Sportlich). Prizes and
university degrees did not take long to appear, and in the same year he joined
Daimler, 1923, he was named Sir Ferdinand Porsche by the Italian government and
recieved an Honoris Causa from the Stuttgart Technical Institute.
Porsche worked in the design of Mercedes-Benz cars until 1928, when he
left because of disagreements the other other chief engineer of the factory,
Hans Nibel. But his last development in the factory was probably one of the most
important: The curious, exotic and fast SSKL.
After Porsche left Mercedes, he was soon hired to design the now extint
Austria cars, and later joined another very important German auto maker, Auto
Union. In this factory he designed the famous and complex 16-cylinder race cars.
While working in Auto Union, he formed with his son "Ferry" an independent
factory that had their last name, Porsche, as name. Ferry worked as design head.
In another example of versatility and excellence, he won the contract for
building the Volkswagen, a car that, according to the beliefs of Adolf Hitler,
was going to put every German citizen on wheels. And it did. With help form the
Nazi government, he started building the Volkswagen plant. Finally, the car hit
showrooms on 1939, but the war postponed it's full production until 1945.The
Volkswagen became more then a car, it became a symbol of easy, reliable
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still produced today, after almost 60 years in countries like Mexico.
After building cars for almost everyone interested in hiring him,
Ferdinand Porsche finally put all his concentration in his own factory, located
in Zuffenhausen. In 1948 and 1949 he works with his son Ferry in the design and
production of his first model, the famed 356.
In 1950, at the age of seventy-five and after living one of the most
prolific lives (in the automotive sense), Ferdinand Porsche dies. His legacy in
the automotive world is invaluable. His cars and his work with them, flawless.
He is one of those people who rarely put foot on this planet. He is one of those
people who have crossed the barrier that separates leyends form immortals, who
will be remembered for many generations to come as a pioneer of the most
important invention of the century, and maybe the millenium. Ferdinand Porsche
had to be born with a car on his mind. Porsche. There is no substitute.