Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, who designed the famous Porsche 911, has died at age 76 in Salzburg, Austria.
Born on Dec. 11, 1935, in Stuttgart, Germany, he was the eldest son of Dorothea and Ferry Porsche, who along with Ferry’s father, Ferdinand Porsche, had founded the company that would evolve into one of the most famous sports car marques of all time.
Mathias Muller, CEO of Porsche AG, recognised the achievements of Ferdinand Alexander Porsche when he said “We mourn the death of Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, as the creator of the 911, which has established in our company, a design culture that shapes our sports cars today. His philosophy of good design is a legacy for us that we will continue to observe with honour.”
A gifted designer from an early age, “Butzi” – as his family and friends knew him, used to design and build his own toys.
Ferdinand Alexander Porsche was educated at the Waldorf school in Stuttgart and the Ulm School of Design, which before closing in 1968, was a prestigious German design school of that era.
He started work in the design department at the former Porsche KG, where he first created the Porsche 901. That was changed to 911 after a dispute with French car company, Peugeot.
The Porsche 911 was first shown at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. Production began in 1964 and continues today in its seventh-generation form.
Ferdinand Alexander Porsche headed Porsche’s design studio from 1962 to 1972 and along with a succession of 911 cars, he is also credited with the design of the Porsche 904 GTS racing car – a work that he considered to be his most “pure”.
Upon the change from Porsche KG to a limited company in 1972, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche founded the “Porsche Design Studio” in Stuttgart, which was later relocated to Zell am See, in Austria. He designed accessories from watches to pens as well as reading glass frames under the “Porsche Design” name.
He also designed various industrial products, home appliances and consumer goods under the brand “Design by FA Porsche”
His design credo was that, “Design must be functional, and functionality must be translated into visual aesthetics, without gimmicks that have to be explained”.
F.A. Porsche retired in 2005 due to health concerns, but was given the honorary title of chairman of the supervisory board – a title that his father had also held after his retirement.