Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The New Porsche?

Today I read an article about Porsche #1 making its way to the famed Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach. I didn't find the fact that the car is being shown as a celebration of Porsche's 60th birthday nearly as interesting as the details that followed this announcement regarding the history of the car and being car #1, the history of Porsche's early development.

The Porsche story is actually very similar to that of Local Motors.

Mainly,
Dr. Ferdinand 'Ferry' Porsche developed the first car after an unsuccessful search to find the car of his dreams. We are working under the same premise and will be producing cars like none other available on the market. Also, like our first prototype the first car utilized running gear from an already existing platform (the VW). It also used the suspension, headlights, clutch, gearbox, cable-operated brakes, and steering from the VW in addition to the engine and transmission. Using these parts allowed Porsche and his team to focus on things like tuning the engine for more power, but the thing more in line with the LM model, creating a new body design.

"Erwin Komenda, who along with Ferry Porsche and Karl Rabe formed the foundation of the fledgling car company, penned an aerodynamic and easy-to-build open roadster design. Friedrich Weber from Gmünd, one of just three of the company's body artisans, formed each of the car's aluminum body panels by hand, beating the then rare sheet metal and massaging it into shape over the wooden body buck Komenda had designed. The result was as shapely and beautiful as it was functional, with minimal protrusions to upset the aerodynamics or its visually graceful lines."

Courtesy: www.motorcities.com (Note the VW Beetle in the background)

Another parallel to the first Porsche is that he kept the car simple and still achieved a high level of performance wrapped in a beautiful, timeless design. The car had only what it needed - a result of function driving form as is still the case with modern Porsches.

I always find it interesting how humble the beginnings of most of the major players in the automotive world are, this being no exception. I think it just provides proof that even in today's age of car building, when you're driven by design (or lack thereof in cases like Dr. Porsche and LM), and you carry that tradition in every model you produce, the results can totally change the game.


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