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F.A. ‘Butzi’ Porsche dies aged 76

Driving force: Ferdinand Alexander Porsche was responsible for the original 911 sports car design in the early 1960s.

Porsche mourns ‘father of 911’ Ferdinand Alexander Porsche

Porsche logo9 Apr 2012

DESIGNER of the iconic original Porsche 911, Ferdinand Alexander ‘Butzi’ Porsche, died last week in Salzburg, Austria, aged 76.

Son of Ferry Porsche and grandson and namesake of the company’s founder, F.A. Porsche (as he was also known) spent much of his childhood in his grandfather’s engineering offices and development workshops.

After attending the prestigious Ulm School of Design in Germany, Mr Porsche joined the engineering office of his grandfather’s company in 1958 and sculpted the first model of a successor to the 356.

By 1962 he had become head of the Porsche design studio and a year later unveiled the first Porsche 911, its distinctive shape now considered timeless and iconic – and still recognisable in the recently-launched seventh-generation 991-series model.

F.A. Porsche was also known for penning the 804 Formula One car – which gave Porsche its sole Grand Prix victory as a make in 1962 – and two years later the 904 Carrera GTS, a car still widely regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful racers.

Porsche AG president and CEO Matthias Müller paid tribute to Mr Porsche.

“As the creator of the Porsche 911, he established a design culture in our company that has shaped our sports cars to this very day,” he said.

“His philosophy of good design is a legacy to us that we will honour for all time.”

 center imageLeft: Ferdinand Alexander Porsche designing sunglasses in 1989.

After the Porsche family took a step back from the car company following its conversion into a joint-stock corporation in the early 1970s, F.A. Porsche founded Porsche Design and went on to design premium accessories including watches and sunglasses.

Working under the philosophy that “design must be functional and functionality has to be translated visually into aesthetics”, Porsche Design also branched into industrial products, household appliances and consumer durables.

During the car company’s economic troubles of the early 1990s, F.A. Porsche served as president of the supervisory board and is credited with playing a major role in turning the company around.

He also received honours and awards for his design achievements, including an honour for the Porsche 911’s aesthetics from the Comité Internationale de Promotion et de Prestige in 1968, Prizewinner of the Year from Industrial Forum Design Hannover in 1992 and being made an honorary professor by the president of Austria in 1999.

F.A. Porsche will be buried in his family grave in Schüttgut, Austria, about 80km south-west of Salzburg, in a private ceremony, which will be followed by an official funeral service in Stuttgart.

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