I don’t know about you, but I hope to be retired when I reach 3/4 of a century. Placing 75 candles on a cake might be difficult, but Porsche engineers will find a way because they’re celebrating the birthday of Dr. Wolfgang Porsche. He is the son of the company’s founder, Ferry Porsche. And as the grandson of Ferdinand, he is the living legacy to Volkswagen and its automotive empire.
Born in Stuttgart in 1943, the family moved to Austria to escape the ravages of the Second World War. The French put his Grandfather in jail for designing the Volkswagen Beetle, because somehow that made him a war criminal. As a youngster, he watched his father use the Beetle’s simple and rugged chassis and built a beautiful sports car upon it. The first Porsche 356 bodies were built in Gmund, Austria, and they were built for one purpose. Ferry wasn’t looking to change the world, he simply wanted to pay the bounty for his father’s release.
In a press release this morning, Dr. Porsche reminisces about times spent with his Grandfather. When the old man saw his son’s creation, they brought together a skilled team of engineers and designers and returned to Stuttgart in 1949. Full-scale production of the Porsche 356 began soon after, and the rest is history. The patriarch died in late 1950, knowing that his name would live on in the world’s best-engineered machines.
Wolfgang and his brothers watched their father build amazing automobiles for 50 years until Ferry passed away in 1998. Twenty years ago was also the end of the air-cooled Porsche. Wolfgang is looking back over a long career in the automotive world. He began by importing Yamaha bikes to Austria, then went into management for Daimler-Benz. He had a few business ventures before he joined his older brothers in the boardroom.
While he wasn’t an engineer, he used his business might to attempt a takeover of Volkswagen in 1998, but his cousin Ferdinand Piech wouldn’t allow it. Instead, the other side of the family bought a majority of stock in Porsche. Wolfgang is still a board member and the brand’s ambassador. The family traditions are strong, as he has groomed his children for the life they are destined for.
“I feel personally connected with my family, the company, and all the employees. People and employees have always been the focus for the Porsche family and therefore for me as well. Mutual appreciation and interest have been crucial factors in the success of the Porsche company. My grandfather Ferdinand and my father, Ferry, instilled these values in me from early childhood on. A Porsche isn’t just a fast car. Porsche is a community.”
From all of us here at duPont REGISTRY, we wish Dr. Wolgang Porsche a happy birthday! Tell us your favorite Porsche story in the comments below and stay with us for all your Porsche news.