Today Porsche celebrates its 81 anniversary as an established company. Like most stories involving the birth of an automaker, founder Ferdinand Porsche started his company with humble beginnings.
In fact, the company’s first branded car, the Porsche 356, didn’t roll into the automotive scene until 1948. Prior to that, the company was a design and engineering firm that provided expertise to a number of automakers including Volkswagen. Ferdinand’s company designed the Volkswagen Beetle and also helped developed the Porsche Type 22 race car for the Auto Union automotive company. The company also engineered and patented the torsion bar suspension system, as well as a number of military tanks for the German army.
His son Ferdinand (Ferry) helped expand the company. Most importantly, Ferry played an integral role in developing and building the brand’s first car, the Porsche 356, which essentially put the independent automaker on the map. In 1950, the 356 would be the first Porsche sold in America. Two years later, the Porsche badge was conceived during dinner between Ferry and Max Hoffman, who was the first dealer to start selling the 356. As the story goes, Hoffman pointed out that Porsche needed a badge. On a napkin, Ferry sketched out the badge, which includes the state crest of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the horse from Stuttgart’s coat of arms, and the word “PORSCHE” on top.
It’s the same iconic crest used today on modern Porsches like the 991 911 Carrera, the lightweight Cayman R, the upcoming 2013 Porsche Boxster and yes, even the controversial Cayenne and Panamera. Porsche is as strong as ever and there’s no telling where the company will be 81 years from today.