PORSCHE Press Information

50 Years of Porsche Sports Cars



Sports Cars Already Legendary in Their Time

From the 356 to the New 911

While products and technologies designed and created by Porsche now look back at more than 100 years of successful history, the first car bearing the brand name Porsche was homologated by the state government of Kärnten in Austria „only“ 50 years ago on 8 June 1948 – the very first Porsche 356 to see the light of day. The intellectual and, indeed, spiritual „father“ of the car was Professor Ferdinand „Ferry“ Porsche, who died on 27 March 1998 at the age of 88. Moving his Company during the war from Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen to the town of Gmünd in Kärnten, Ferry Porsche had started with his faithful employees in 1947 to „build a sports car of the kind I like myself“ based on the Volkswagen Beetle developed by his father.

Without counting „Old No 1“, exactly 52 units of the 356 model were built in Gmünd, all subsequent cars as of 1950 being assembled in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Up to the end of production of the 356 in 1965 no less than 78,000 purchasers the world over had joined Ferry Porsche in his opinion, clearly expressing that they, too, liked the car. Other sports cars – in particular, of course, the 911 – quickly made the brand one of the most renowned and outstanding automobile manufacturers in the world consistently renowned for beautiful design, progressive and reliable technology.

Porsche’s worldwide success in motorsport also started with the 356. For the very first model with chassis number 356.001 was only a few weeks old when, in July 1948, it scored its first class victory in the Innsbruck City Race. And to this very day hardly any other marque has brought home as many overall wins and world championships as Porsche. In the 24 Hours of Le Mans alone, now the oldest and most famous long-distance race in the world, Porsche has clinched victory no less than 15 times. In Formula 1, in turn, the world championship engine has come from Porsche on no less than three occasions.

Many of the winning cars are based on the Porsche 911 and its technology. Like the VW Beetle beating production records the world over, the Porsche 911 presented to the public in 1963 now looks back at a longer life-cycle than any other sports car in the world. And even today, demand for the latest 911 with its water-cooled six-cylinder horizontally opposed power unit fitted at the rear exceeds all expectations. Which explains why Porsche aficionados already speak of the „never-ending story“ (and success) of the 911.

Porsche’s Research and Development Centre in Weissach, 25 kilometres west of Stuttgart, is of equally great significance in the automobile world as Porsche’s sports cars from Zuffenhausen. The Weissach Centre continues the tradition initiated by Professor Ferdinand Porsche, the father of Ferry Porsche, at his original Design Office in Stuttgart, developing not only the sports cars of the marque, but also technical projects and new technologies for customers the world over. Indeed, no other manufacturer these days is able to offer such a complete, all-round range of development services extending from detailed solutions all the way to complete vehicles. The main customers of Porsche’s Development Centre with more than 1,850 engineers and technicians are international automotive manufacturers proud and readily willing to admit that „there is a piece of Weissach in every car on the road“.


Celebrating Porsche’s 50th Birthday

12 – 14 June 1998

Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Presentation of historical Porsche cars.

Demonstration trials with famous Porsche racing drivers at the wheel.

Friday, 10 July 1998

From 6.30 pm, special event for invited guests at the Zuffenhausen Plant.

Saturday, 11 July 1998

From 8.00 am, meeting of Porsche Club members and Porsche dealers, drive-away to Zuffenhausen, participants from all over the world.

Sunday, 12 July 1998

From 10.00 am, special party for employees and their families.

14 – 16 August 1998

Monterey Historics

Exhibition and presentation of historical Porsche racing/sports cars with concours d’elegance.

Regularity trials with popular Porsche racing drivers at the wheel on the Laguna Seca race track.