Ferry Porsche Cars are my life
Prof Dr. Ing. h. c. Ferry Porsche with Gűnther Molter
Patrick Stephens Ltd
During the history of the motorcar there have been an awful lot of manufacturers bearing the names of their founders, but has there ever been a name so synonymous with car development and high performance sports cars, and that has prevailed for nearly as long as the automobile has existed, than Porsche?
This semi-autobiographical book is highly detailed and is probably the best reference on the history of Porsche you could wish to have. The text is a translation of the original and is quite ‘European’ in the way in which it reads, but is beautifully written and remains utterly enthralling throughout, with some great accompanying photos.
Ferry`s father and founder of the company, Ferdinand Porsche, was widely acknowledged to be one of the most innovative engineers of his generation and was a major influence in car design and development throughout his career.
How innovative? Well, his first car, built in 1900, was electric and propelled by two hub-mounted motors driving the front wheels. As the crude battery technology of the time severely restricted the potential range (the world`s first example of range anxiety, perhaps?), his design for his second car utilised an internal-combustion engine driving a generator to provide the electric supply and thus creating the very first hybrid! Nothing new under the sun…
In the late 1930`s Ferry Porsche was integrally involved in the commission from Adolf Hitler to design a ‘Peoples Car’ (VolksWagen) to a very rigorous set of cost and performance parameters and which, post war, ultimately became the iconic Beetle beloved by so many. He also worked on the famous V12 and V16, mid-engined Auto-Union C and D Type racers that battled for honours against the legendary Mercedes ‘Silver Arrows’, with both manufacturer`s cars having around 500bhp and capable of exceeding 200mph – on 1930`s tyres!
The book also encompasses a detailed look at Porsche`s work for the military during World War Two, including the creation of an all-purpose utility vehicle, the ubiquitous Kubelwagen, based on the mechanicals from the Peoples Car project, and an amphibious version known as the Schwimmwagen, as well as their work on heavy tanks – the most astonishing of which was Porsches late war tank design for a ‘mobile bunker’, the 189 tonne ‘Maus’ (‘Mouse’ – just love the German sense of humour…)
Most fascinating are the chapters covering the post-war regeneration of the company and the trials and tribulations of starting anew, with their first sports car, the 356, taking to the road as early as 1948 despite all the problems obtaining even the basic raw materials in an occupied and war-ravaged Europe.
From these new beginnings the book covers the rise to greatness of the Porsche brand with detailed background on the development of both their road cars and race cars which have dominated in all the disciplines of motorsport at some time during the twentieth century, and beyond.
Now out of print, used copies are available on the ‘net. Highly Recommended.
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