The automotive world is mourning the loss of a great innovator today, after news of Ferdinand Alexander Porsche’s death broke yesterday. He was 76. Best known for designing the Porsche 911, he will be a celebrated auto designer for generations to come. His road to automotive fame began when he was born in December 1935, the son of Ferry Porsche, the luxury car company’s founder. His grandfather was even responsible for the first Volkswagen Beetle.
As a youth, he pursued an education in design, but was “kicked out,” he later said, from the prestigious school. In 1957, he began working at Porsche, and the Porsche 911 was born when he was a mere 25 years old.
The classic 2-door holds the record as having the longest sports car production run of all time. Only a handful from the 1964 model year are known to exist today. The 1964 Porsche 911 featured a 16.2 gallon fuel tank and had a flat 6 cylinder engine. Going 0-60 took 8.3 seconds, and the car had a top speed of 131 miles per hour. With rear-wheel drive and a five speed manual transmission, this was a car that helped propel Porsche up the ranks of impressive cars at the time, and earned it the respect that has lasted through decades.
Today, the Porsche 911 looks strikingly similar to the original, with a few updates and restyling, of course, furthering Ferdinand Alexander Porsche’s role in the iconic car’s history. Few have been able to create a model which lasts long in production while maintaining a consistent look and level of respect on the road. He will certainly be missed, but always remembered.