Porsche, Ferdinand

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Porsche, Ferdinand, born 03-09-1875 in Maffersdorf, was an Austrian German automotive engineer and honorary Coctor of Engineering. He is best known for creating the first hybrid vehicle, gasoline-electric, the Volkswagen Beetle , as well as the first of many Porsche automobiles. Porsche designed the 1923 Benz Tropfenwagen, which was the first race car with mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. Known in business circles as the “great engineer”, he made a number of contributions to advanced German tank designs: Tiger I, Tiger Ii, and the Elefant as well as the super-heavy Panzer VIII Maus tank  , which was never put into production. He also made contributions in aircraft design, including the Junkers JU 88,  and the Focke Wulf Ta 152, Additionally, he helped develop and manufacture retaliatory weapons, Vergeltungswaffen, such as the V-I flying bombs . In 1937, Porsche was awarded the German National Prize for Art and Science, one of the rarest decorations in Nazi Germany. Ferdinand Porsche was born to German-speaking parents northern Bohemia, during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today in the Czech Republic. He showed high aptitude for mechanical work at a very young age. He managed to attend classes at the Imperial Technical School in Reichenberg at night while helping his father in his mechanical shop by day. Thanks to a referral, Porsche landed a job with the Béla Egger Electrical company in Vienna when he turned 18. In Vienna he would sneak into the local university whenever he could after work. Beyond auditing classes there, Porsche had never received any higher engineering education. Jamais Contente photo jamais-contente.jpg During his five years with Béla Egger, Porsche first developed the electric hub motor with also ideas of the Austrian Jewish designer Edmund Rumpler   In June 1934, Porsche received a contract from Hitler to design a “people’s car”, or Volkswagen,

    following on from his previous designs such as the 1931 Type 12 car designed for Zündapp. The first two prototype cars were completed in 1935. These were followed by several further pre-production batches during 1936 to 1939. The car was similar to the contemporary designs of Hans Ledwinka of Tatra, which resulted in a lawsuit against Porsche settled by Volkswagen only several years after World War II. A new city, “Stadt des KdF-Wagens”, near Fallersleben was founded for the Volkswagen factory, but wartime production concentrated almost exclusively on the military Kübelwagen and Schwimmwagen variants. Mass production of the car, which later became known as the Beetle, commenced after the end of the war. The city is named Wolfsburg today and is still the headquarters of Volkswagen Group. In a meeting in the Reich Chancellery, Hitler agreed with Porsche that for the glory of Germany, it would be better for two companies to develop the project, resulting in Hitler agreeing to split the money between Mercedes and Auto Union with 250.000 Reichsmark to each company.  In November 1950, Porsche visited the Wolfsburg Volkswagen factory for the first time since the end of World War II.

Death and burial ground of Porsche, Ferdinand.

Porsche spent his visit chatting with Volkswagen president Heinrich Nordhoff about the future of VW Beetle, which were already being produced in large numbers. A few weeks later, Porsche suffered a stroke.

   He did not fully recover, and died on 30-01-1951, age 75 in Stuttgart. Porsche is buried in the chapel Schüttgut on the estate of the Porsche family in Zell am See, Austria. His family allowed me kindly to make these photos of the chapel and grave.


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