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Porsche family member and 911 designer dies

By Giulia Cambieri

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, the grandson of the eponymous family business's founder and the designer of the iconic Porsche 911, died on 5 April in Salzburg, Austria aged 76.

He was the honorary president of the German car manufacturer’s supervisory board.

Born in 1935, Ferdinand was the oldest son of Dorothea and Ferry Porsche, and the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche Sr, who established the automaker in 1931.

From a young age, he showed a great interest in cars and engineering, spending most of his childhood in his grandfather’s office. After graduating from the prestigious Ulm School of Design, he joined the Stuttgart-based family business in 1958, initially working in the company’s engineering department.

In 1962, he took the helm of the automaker’s design unit – and just one year later created the Porsche 911. The car, which quickly became the company’s flagship model, is still produced today and its design remains practically unchanged.

During the 1960s, Ferdinand, who was known to colleagues as FA, also designed other well-known sports and racing cars, such as the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS and the Type 804 Formula One.

In 1972, when the Porsche family decided to end its involvement in the firm’s day-to-day management, Ferdinand founded Porsche Design Studio and went on to create a number of products, including watches and writing instruments, as well as household appliances and consumer goods.

However, he remained involved in the governance of the family business as a member of the supervisory board, serving as president between 1990 and 1993. In 2005, his son Oliver succeeded him on the board, while he was named the body’s honorary president.

In a statement released on 6 April, the company, which did not disclose how Ferdinand died, said he will be buried in the family grave at Schuttgut in Austria.

"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,” Matthias Muller, Porsche’s president and chief executive, said in the statement.

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

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