June 6, 2008 One of the world's best-known sportscar marques is turning 60. Created by Ferdinand Alexander “Ferry” Porsche, in a small workshop in the Austrian Alps, the first Porsche prototype identified as 356-001 received official approval for road service on June 8, 1948.
“It all started when I began looking around and just could not find my dream car. So I decided to build it myself,” said Ferry Porsche, who is the son of Volkswagen Beetle designer Ferdinand Porsche. "To this day, this genius and pioneering spirit has shaped the philosophy of the company".
The 356, which is still immediately recognizable as the predecessor to the the 911, 914, 944, 928 and Boxster series, attracted immediate attention by virtue of its aerodynamic teardrop body shape, placement of the engine behind the driver and the resulting handling and acceleration characteristics. Two years later the company set up production at a facility that's still used today in Zuffenhausen, Germany.
Porsche has survived its share of turmoil over six decades, in particular rising from an economic crisis in the early 90's when it was in danger of take-over. The company now has a majority holding in Volkswagen AG and continues to pursue development, not just in terms of performance but also in environmental sustainability as seen in the last year's Cayenne Hybrid prototype.