The Porsche 912, a Porsche of the 1960s
Porsche (Porsche AG) is a German manufacturer of sports cars, founded in 1947 by Ferry Porsche, son of Ferdinand Porsche, the engineer who created the first Volkswagen). The company is located in Zuffenhausen in the outskirts of Stuttgart.
The first Porsche model, the Porsche 356 of 1948, was initially built in Gmünd, Austria, but after building 49 cars the company relocated to Zuffenhausen. Ferdinand Porsche worked with Ferry Porsche in designing the 356 but died soon after the built of the first prototype. The car used many Volkswagen components including its engine (the air-cooled, rear-mounted, 4-cylinder 'boxer' unit, but tuned for more power), its gearbox and its suspension. The sleek bodywork was designed by Erwin Komenda who had also designed the body of the VW Beetle. The 356 had several evolutions during while in production and many VW parts where replaced by Porsche-made parts. The last 356 were powered with a 100% Porsche flat-4 engine.
In 1963, after some success in motor-racing, the company launched the Porsche 911, another air-cooled, rear-engined sportscar, this time with a 6-cylinder 'boxer' engine. The car has become their most well-known model, successful on the race-track, in rallies, and in terms of sales. Far more than any other model, the Porsche brand is defined by the 911.
The company has had a close relationship with Volkswagen. The first Porsche cars, the 1948 Porsche 356, used many Volkswagen components. Later collaborations include the 1969/1970 VW-Porsche 914, the 1976 Porsche 924 (which used many Audi components and was built at an Audi factory), and the 2002 Porsche Cayenne (which shares engineering with the VW Touareg).As of 2003 Ferdinand Porsche's grandson Ferdinand Piech is the CEO of Volkswagen Group and the main shareholder of Porsche AG.
Porsche has been highly successful in many branches of motor-racing. Particular success has been in sportscar racing, notably the Le Mans 24 Hours (a winner 16 times), in Formula 1 (supplying TAG-labelled engines for McLaren), and on the Paris-Dakar rally.
Porsche has a reputation for producing vehicles that, despite their high performance, are reliable and tractable enough to be used for daily driving, and of high manufacturing quality and durability, but perhaps less visual excitement than their competitors. This reputation is contrasted with that of Ferrari, their main competitor, whose machines are famous for their design flair and temperamental nature.
Porsche has for many years offered consultancy services to various other car manufacturers. Studebaker, Seat, Daewoo and Subaru have consulted Porsche on engineering for their cars.
The major consumer models of Porsche are:
- Porsche 356
- Porsche 911
- Porsche 912
- Porsche 914
- Porsche 924
- Porsche 928
- Porsche 944
- Porsche 968
- Porsche Boxster
- Porsche Cayenne
- Porsche 908
- Porsche 917
- Porsche 935
- Porsche 936
- Porsche 956/962
- Porsche 959