Porsche, are a name that has become almost synonymous with two-door mid-engined sports cars. However, Porsche’s house-hold name didn’t come easy. Its amazing to think that over the first half of the 20th century, Porsche built everything from tractors to electric and hybrid cars and even designed the Type 80 Mercedes, which was propped as the fastest car in the world with a top speed of 756 kmph. As Porsche gears up to celebrate 70 years in existence on the 8th of June, 2018, we give you 7 absolutely mind-blowing Porsche facts!
1. The Volkswagen Beetle, was designed by Hitler but built by Porsche
Seeing Henry Ford’s looming success across the pond with the Model T, the first man of the Reich wanted an automobile that would meet the needs to the people. It is said that Hitler was the first one to draw out the Beetle’s obtuse proportions, and Ferdinand Porsche (then Chairman of Volkswagen) built the first prototype in the Garage of his personal villa. At the time, Porsche as a manufacturer was very much in it’s inceptive stages, and in many ways had it not been for the success of the Bug’s odd-ball design, the 911 would never come to be.
2. Porsche first designed an electric car and a Hybrid in the early 1900s
In 2018, the electrification of the automobile seems imminent, but how about an electric Porsche in the 1900s? And I mean the early 1900s. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche had actually designed an all-electric car with four individual hub motors. A lot like the ones on modern electric cars, interestingly, Porsche also built a hybrid version of the Lohner-Porsche Electric car, which used a combination of electricity and petrol to power its way through the streets. However, neither the all-electric car or the hybrid made it to production.
3. Porsche 111 is the most famous Porsche that you might not have heard of
Now, while Lamborghini’s history of building tractors shot to fame after his bout with Enzo. The Porsche 111 was one of the the most hallmark products built by Porsche. Porsche built over 125,000 111s over seven years that they produced it. The 111 not only had use in conventional farms, but also had specialized bodies built for coffee farming to ensure that the diesel fumes from the tractor did not affect the produce.
4. Porsche 911 may have been called the 901
When, the finishing touches to the 911 were being put on. Porsche had decided to name it the 901. Strangely Puegot who use similar nomenclature ie the 205, 206 and the 207, objected. At which point Porsche simply added the 1 to distinguish his Porsche from the French competition. Little did he know he had changed the future as we know it!
5. The Porsche 959 was the only car to win both Le Mans and the Paris-Dakar Rally
The mid-engined 959 was one helluva car, it was perhaps the definitive car for Porsche. Being a small mid-engine rear wheel drive sports car, it not only one the gruelling 24 hours of Le Man race. It also laid siege to the competition at the Paris-Dakar with it’s four wheel drive system far out shining the competition in 1984. Interestingly, it even won a category victory at the Le Mans in 1986 making it the only car in history to have won both a race and a rally!
6. In 1939, Porsche designed the world’s fastest car for Mercedes, with a projected speed of 756 kmph
When Mercedes wanted to build the world’s fastest car as far back as 1939, they turned to Ferdinand Porsche. Who helped them design the Mercedes Type-80 which had a top-speed of 756 kmph. A 2018 Buggatti Chiron, tops out at 420 kmph. That’s almost 70 years in the future! However, Type 80 only attempted the record 25 years later!
7. Here’s why Ferrari’s prancing horse looks suspiciously like the one on Porsche’s Marquee
They are essentially the same horse, the horse on Porsche emblem is from the coat of arms for Porsche’s home town of Stuttgart in Germany. Interestingly, Ferrari borrowed the same horse from the coat of arms when he established, after the Countess Paolina Barracca suggester Ferrari adopt the prancing horse on their logo in honour of their sons success in WW1 as a pilot with Stuttgart's rampant horse painted on the side of the plane.