HISTORY OF A GIANT

Ferdinand Porsche; visionary. His name first appeared in automotive greatness at the turn of the century; 1900. The Lohner-Porsche Electric Car, powered by wheel hub motors designed by the young engineer Porsche. In 1931, he founded the Porsche Engineering Office in Stuttgart, Germany, and was soon producing the VW's predecessor, the Type 32, and in 1936 began testing Volkswagon prototypes from Porsche's villa. Unfortunately, a war soon got in the way of production, and a jeep was created on the basis of the Type 60, and in 1944 the Engineering Office is moved to Gmünd, Austria. 1948 saw the first Porsche sports car, built in Gmünd with VW parts under the direction of Ferry Porsche (Ferdinand Jr.). The 356 was born.

THE NEVER-ENDING STORY

Porsche returned to Germany in 1950; Zuffenhausen, near Stuttgart. Production factilities are set up, and Porsche becomes an independant automobile factory. Just a year later, Professeor Ferdinand Porsche Sr. dies, aged 75, and almost in his honor, the 356 leads Porsche to victory in the 24 hours Le Mans; 1100CC category. The 550 Spyder was developed to pick up the racing baton, while the 356 continued road-car production until the 911 was designed. The designer? None other than Ferry Porsche's son, Ferdinand III. By the 70s, the 911 and it's offspring, the 914-4 and 914-6, are dominating the sports car market, and then in 1970 the 917 is designed as the new racing model. This 4.5L 12 Cylinder boxer engine virtually clean-sweeps globally, including the World Championship of Makes and the Endurance World Championship. Under the guidance of Ferry Porsche, the company goes public in 1972, and then in '74, the first 911 Turbo is developed, beginning the era of turbocharged autos.

The 70s saw a revolution of sorts, with the 911 models developed almost exclusively for racing, while the front-engined 924 and 928 series' dominated the road car market. Racing saw a replacement contender also, with the 956 beginning it's victorious career spanning over a decade. The 944 continued the Transaxle into the 80s, and then the 928 S4 rounded it out before the next generation of 911s, the type 964, starting out with the 4x4 Carrera 4. The 959 in 1985 becomes the first ever sports car to win the Paris-Dakar rally. The 944 is subsequently Turboed and fitted with a 5-speed gearbox; although still in production, and built upon with the 968 in the 90s, Transaxle Porsches are more a back-seat affair as the 911 range is redeveloped with a new Turbo, and then with the new type 993. The 911 GT1 is developed to replace the 956, and just as it's 356 grandfather, provides Porsche with a resounding victory at Le Mans in honor of Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche, who passed away March 27, 1998, at the age of 88.

THE NEW WAVE

Meanwhile, the Boxter has been introduced as a mid-engined roadster, which still exists as a rereleased version today, while the Carrera GT offers a luxurious touring car into the line-up, almost reminiscent of the old 550 Spyder. The Cayenne is the company's brief foray into the SUV market, with Sports and Turbo models also available. Porsche also recently unveiled their new Cayman concept as a sports roadster, combining features from the 911 and Boxter ranges in order to achieve some semblance of middle ground. Something for everyone; order yours today!