Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, 911 Designer, Dead at 76

AutoInformed.com

Ferdinand's first model was the design of a successor to the 356 model - the Porsche 911.

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, the son of Dorothea and Ferry Porsche, died earlier this week in Salzburg. The famed designer of sports cars – including the 911 – will be buried in the family grave at Schüttgut in Zell am See, attended by his immediate family. An official funeral service will be held in Stuttgart later. At the time of his death, F.A. Porsche as he was called by colleagues was Honorary President of the Supervisory Board.

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche was born in Stuttgart on 11 December 1935, the oldest son of Dorothea and Ferry Porsche. He spent much of his early years in the engineering offices and development workshops of his grandfather Ferdinand Porsche. In 1943, the family accompanied the Porsche company’s move to Austria, where he went to school in Zell am See. After returning to Stuttgart in 1950, he attended the private Waldorf school. After leaving school, he enrolled at the Ulm School of Design.

In 1958, Ferdinand joined the engineering office of what was then Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche KG. His first model was the design of a successor to the 356 model out of plasticine. In 1962, he took over as head of the Porsche design studio, making his name one year later with the Porsche 901, which went into production as the 911, and is still in production seven iterations later. Porsche also designed racing cars, including the type 804 Formula One racing car and the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS.

When Porsche KG became a joint-stock corporation in the early 1970s, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, along with all the other family members, were replaced with professional managers. In 1972 he founded the Porsche Design Studio in Stuttgart, the head office of which was relocated to Zell am See in Austria in 1974. In the decades that followed, he designed watches, eyeglasses and pens under the “Porsche Design” brand.

Porsche Design also worked on industrial products, household appliances and consumer durables under the brand Design by F.A. Porsche. “Design must be functional and functionality has to be translated visually into aesthetics, without gags that have to be explained first,” Porsche: “A coherently designed product requires no adornment; it should be enhanced by its form alone.” The design’s appearance should be readily comprehensible and not detract from the product and its function. His conviction was, “Good design should be honest.”

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche received numerous honors and awards both for his work as a designer as well as for individual designs. In 1968 the “Comité Internationale de Promotion et de Prestige” honored him for the outstanding aesthetic design of the Porsche 911 while the Industrial Forum Design Hannover (iF) voted him “Prizewinner of the Year” in 1992. In 1999, the President of Austria bestowed on him the title of Professor.

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche retained a close association with Porsche AG as a partner and member of the Supervisory Board. From 1990 to 1993, F.A. Porsche served as President of the company’s Supervisory Board, and is said to have playing a major role in Porsche A.G’s economic turnaround. In 2005, he stood down from his Supervisory Board role in favor of his son Oliver and assumed the mantle of Honorary President of the Supervisory Board.

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About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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