Porsche, manufacturer of luxury cars with a checkered history – 5 facts you should know about them

Porsche caused a sensation at the 1963 Frankfurt International Motor Show when it unveiled a new car equipped with a six-cylinder engine intended to succeed its 356 model.

1- The story of the 911-

Originally, the manufacturer wanted to call it the 901, but Peugeot had already claimed all three-digit numbers with a zero in the middle, prompting Porsche to settle for the 911.

The number is now heavily branded – to call the company, 911 appears on all telephone numbers after the local area code. The company’s capital amounts to 911 million shares, and its shares will be traded under the code P911.

2- Pioneers within the electric car –

Volkswagen, Porsche’s parent company, launched a high-profile campaign to get rid of combustion engines, but actually produced its first electric vehicles more than a century ago. At the Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen in southern Germany, a kind of old stagecoach is on display, described as the first Porsche in history.

The “Phaéton C.2 Egger-Lohner” was built in 1898 by the company’s founder Ferdinand Porsche and was powered by electricity. Two years later, Porsche unveiled a new model, the “Lohner-Porsche”, a petrol-electric hybrid.

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3- On the screen –

Porsches have made regular appearances on the big screen over the years. One of the most famous examples is the 1971 film “Le Mans”, in which Steve McQueen plays Michael Delaney, an American who drives a Porsche 917 against a German rival in a Ferrari during the famous 24-hour race in France.

In the 1995 detective film “Bad Boys,” Will Smith’s character drives a 911 Turbo as he and another detective investigate the theft of a huge amount of heroin from a police safe.

One of Hollywood star Tom Cruise’s early hits, the 1983 teen comedy “Risky Business,” features a Porsche 928. Cruise’s character isn’t allowed to drive the car unless his parents are, but he does, and the car ends up sinking in a lake .

In “Scarface,” Al Pacino, who plays a Cuban immigrant turned Miami drug lord, also drives a Porsche 928.

4- And in motorsport –

Porsche is one of the largest racing car manufacturers in the world. After enjoying moderate success with the early models in long-distance races in the 1950s and 1960s, the 917 led the manufacturer to a coveted first victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970, an event it won several times since.

The emblematic 911 has particularly distinguished itself in rallies, especially the Monte-Carlo rally. The constructor also raced in Formula 1. They had a team from 1957 to 1962, although they only raced for two full seasons, 1961/62, with their only Grand Prix win, Dan Gurney’s. from France 1962.

They returned to the circuit in 1983 supplying engines to the McLaren team and were very successful – McLaren won two consecutive constructors’ championships in 1984 and 1985. Their negotiations with Red Bull for a partnership that would have allowed them to return to F1, however, failed earlier this month.

5- Porsche and Piech –

The Porsche-Piech family is the largest shareholder in the Volkswagen Group, and its roots in the German automotive industry go back decades. An Austrian-born engineer, Ferdinand Porsche is the founder of the luxury car brand that bears his name. He also created the Volkswagen Beetle and designed the iconic Mercedes-Benz SSK open-top sports car.

During World War II, he contributed to the German war effort by participating in the production of weapons systems and was a member of the Nazi Party. He died in 1951. Ferdinand Piech was the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche. CEO of VW from 1993 to 2002, he helped transform the group into a global automotive giant in the face of stiff competition, particularly from its Asian rivals.

He reorganized the group and cleaned up its accounts at the cost of tens of thousands of jobs, and he was a notoriously hard-line leader who was dubbed the “Emperor” and “Patriarch” by the German media. He died in 2019.

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