|Porsche Museum Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen|
Now it is very likely that not one part from a 1963 911 would fit anywhere in a 2012 model. Yet the basic design elements are so remarkably similar that both are instantly recognized as 911s by any sports car aficionado on the planet. Butzi penned a great car—the Schwabians who actually built it over the years did the rest.
In 1970, I found myself at the plant gates of the Porschewerk in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen hoping to see how the legendary 911 got screwed together. No problem, I was informed, tours start every hour. Tour guides are enthusiasts first—mine was from Sweden and spoke flawless English. No question was too complex. We saw everything from the stamping shops to the trim line.
I had been on automobile factory tours before. I saw a Ford plant in St. Paul when I was in sixth grade that impressed me greatly. I was especially wowed that two door sedans, station wagons, and much in between in a dozen colors came down from the second floor to mate with various chassis that sported small inline 6-cylinder engines all the way to monster V-8s—and these nearly infinite permutations all seemed to have someone that wanted one in just that unique way.
But Porsche was different. The workpace wasn't SO frenetic and nearly all the workers had an open bottle of beer near their workstations. They were quite aware we were watching them and actually seemed to enjoy the attention. And I am certain the test drivers enjoyed scaring the hell out of the orthodontists from southern California who paid extra to have their 911S painted purple. I thought a great deal about those Porsche factory workers when I first read Veblen's The Instinct of Workmanship because I had seen that instinct alive and well in an industrial setting.
Getting injected with a major dose of auto lust at 21 can be a dangerous thing—especially when that car stays in production your whole life. But I have gotten over it. A few years back, I sat in a 911 at the auto show and realized the lust had gone—my LS is PLENTY fast and it doesn't give me claustrophobia. Even so, I still turn and look whenever a 911 goes by and the sound of one of those air-cooled flat sixes could still probably wake me from a deep sleep. Great cars are magic that way.
One more thing. As our tour guide pointed out, it's pronounced Pore-sha. Two syllables. I still wince when I hear people get it wrong.
Ferdinand Porsche, legendary 911 sports car creator, dies at 7605 April, 2012
Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, the man responsible for creating one of the world's most iconic cars, has died in Germany.
A statement from the German company confirmed Professor Porsche, grandson of company founder Ferdinand Porsche, had passed away in Salzburg.
The designer, nicknamed Butzi, joined the family company in 1956 where he worked in the technical design department.
In 1962 he was made the manager of the Porsche design studios and the following year he showed off the Porsche 901, which later became the world-famous 911. The sportscar, which had a rear-mounted engine, could accelerate from 0-100kmh in 9.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 210kmh.
Professor Porsche worked at the company until 1972, when it went public, and started the Porsche Design Group, which created a variety of high quality products from kitchens to mobile phones.
Despite being nearly 50 years old, the 911's design is still unmistakable from the original model. Porsche unveiled the seventh generation 911 last year. more
|The 1970 911 owned by serious Porschephile Steve McQueen|