Porsche is the high-performance sports car manufacturer that needs no introduction. Known worldwide for performance on and off the track, Porsche specializes in luxury, high-performance vehicles including sports cars, supercars, sedans and SUVs.
The illustrious car brand was founded by Ferdinand Porsche after a long career working with Mercedes, Daimler, Auto Union, Volkswagen and others for close to half a century, with creations such as the iconic Volkswagen Beetle to his name. Porsche was to go on to become a family tradition with both son and grandsons – also named Ferdinand – taking roles in design and management.
The German automobile manufacturer is today owned by Volkswagen AG. Keep reading below to learn more about the history of this leading sports car brand.
1875: Ferdinand Porsche is born in Maffersdorf (today the city of Vratislavice nad Nisou in the Czech Republic). After attending vocational school, he becomes an apprentice plumber working for his father.
1898: Ferdinand Porsche designs and builds an electric vehicle named the Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton model.
1900: The car is presented at the World Fair in Paris. Porsche also designs a hybrid petrol/electric vehicle and an all-wheel-drive racecar.
1906: Ferdinand Porsche takes on the role of Technical Director at Austro-Daimler.
1909: His son Ferdinand Anton Ernst Porsche (Ferry) is born.
1923: Ferdinand Porsche develops the renowned Mercedes Compressor Sports Car.
1931: Ferdinand opens an engine and vehicle design, engineering and consultation business in Stuttgart, Germany. Two years later he develops a 16-cylinder Grand Prix race car for Auto Union.
1934: Porsche KG is commissioned to design the Volkswagen prototype.
1935: Ferry Porsche welcomes a son, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche.
1944: The Porsche KG engineering office moves to Gmünd in Austria due to the war.
1948: The Porsche brand is launched with the introduction of the 356 Roadster, designed by Ferry Porsche and constructed with modified Volkswagen parts. It is tested on the track at Innsbruck Stadtrennen and wins a class victory.
1950: Porsche KG returns to Stuttgart and commences production of the 356.
1951: Porsche receives international attention with a class win at the Le Mans 24 Hours with the 356 SL. Ferdinand Porsche dies at age 75.
1953: Porsche develops the 550 Spyder which is specifically designed for racing, winning its first race at Nürburgring that year, followed by a class win at the Carrera Panamerican in Mexico the following year.
1956: The 550 Spyder takes first place at the Sicilian Targa Florio – the first of 11 Porsche victories here. It is the 25th anniversary of the company and the 10,000th 356 rolls off the assembly line.
1960: New racing regulations herald a reinvented Spyder called the RS 60. It wins the Targa Florio that year, along with the Sebring 12-hour in the United States, and the European Hill Climb Championship both in 1960 and 1961.
1962: The Porsche 804 wins the French Grand Prix.
1963: The classic Porsche 911 is released, a fastback coupé with 2+2 seating designed by the founder’s grandson Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. It goes into series production the following year.
1964: Porsche introduces the 904 to the race track at Le Mans. Subsequent wins for the 904 include Targa Florio, the Tour de France, Nürburgring, Le Mans and the 24-hour race in Reims. It placed second at the Monte Carlo Rally the following year.
1965: Porsche releases the 911Targa and begins series production the next year.
1967: Porsche secures its first overall victory at Nürburgring, followed by the 24 Hours of Daytona and the Monte Carlo Rally the following year.
1969: The VW-Porsche 914 is debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Porsche sees first time wins at the World Championship of Makes with the 908/02 and the 917.
1970: The 917 goes on to provide the brand its first overall victory at Le Mans and the Constructors’ World Championship. More wins follow for Porsche throughout the decade.
1971: Porsche opens a development center in Weissach.
1972: Porsche KG goes public as Porsche AG with Ferry Porsche as the Supervisory Board Chairman.
1974: Porsche presents the 911 Turbo at the Paris Auto Show.
1975: Porsche delivers its first front-engine sports car with the 924.
1981: The Porsche 944 follows, another front-engine, mid-level model.
1982: The Porsche 956 is built to compete in the new, high-tech racing Group C. It starts off in spectacular fashion with three 956’s taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd place at Le Mans. The 956 is commercially available the following year. The racing streak continues in other championships and the new 911 SC Cabriolet offers a convertible version of the original sports car.
1984: The Porsche-TAG TTE P01 engine powers McLaren Formula 1 cars to three World Championships. The 911 Carrera 4×4 achieves its first win in the Paris-Dakar Rally.
1985: High-performance sports car 959 is revealed at the IAA. Based on the 911, less than 300 are produced in a limited production run. It is also modified for the Paris-Dakar rally, where it takes first place.
1987: The 962 is developed for U.S. based customers racing in the International Motor Sports Association series. It goes on to become the most successful car in sports racing.
1988: Porsche introduces the all-wheel drive 911 Carrera 4. It is the 911’s 25th anniversary year.
1991: Porsche begins producing all models with airbag for driver and front passenger as standard.
1993: Porsche showcases the Boxster prototype at the Detroit Motor Show and the new 911 Carrera at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
1995: The 911 Turbo becomes the lowest-emission production car in the world with the development of the Emission Control System OBD II. Porsche 911 GT2 is released in a limited run.
1996: The 1 millionth Porsche is celebrated and production begins on the Porsche Boxster.
1997: New generation Porsche 911 Carrera is launched.
1998: Ferry Porsche dies at age 88. The Porsche 911 GT1 achieves a double victory at Le Mans.
2000: Porsche premieres the Carrera GT concept at the Louvre in Paris, France.
2002: The off-road Cayenne SUV is released.
2003: Series production of the Carrera GT begins.
2004: New generations of the 911 and Boxster sports car series are produced.
2005: The Porsche Cayman S is debuted at the IAA and the 911 Carrera 4 and 911 Carrera 4S in Coupé and Cabriolet versions are added.
2007: The Porsche 911 GT2 is released.
2008: The second generation 997 is introduced.
2009: The new Panamera addresses the premium class and the 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS are launched.
2010: Porsche presents the 918 Spyder high-performance hybrid concept car. The new generation Cayenne is launched with 6 and 8-cylinder engines.
2011: Porsche introduces the 918 RSR racing lab, designed to test the company’s hybrid technology on the track. Also new this year is another generation of the 911.
2012: The third generation Boxster is released.
2013: The second
generation of the Cayman is introduced at the LA Auto Show.
2014: The Cayenne S E-Hybrid is the first SUV plug-in hybrid.
2015: The Porsche 919 hybrid is debuted at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France.
2016: Porsche commemorates 20 years of the Boxster with a mid-engine Roaster called the 718 Boxster. The Porsche Panamera is premiered in Berlin.