Skip to main content

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, designer of iconic Porsche 911, dies

By the CNN Wire Staff
December 12, 2012 -- Updated 0004 GMT (0804 HKT)
Picture from January 22, 1999 shows Ferdinand Alexander Porsche next to the logo of German car maker Porsche in Stuttgart.
Picture from January 22, 1999 shows Ferdinand Alexander Porsche next to the logo of German car maker Porsche in Stuttgart.
  • Ferdinand Alexander Porsche dies at the age of 76, the company says
  • Porsche unveiled the first Porsche 911 in 1963
  • He also designed the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS

(CNN) -- Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, who designed and unveiled to the world the first Porsche 911, has died in Salzburg, Austria, a spokesman said. He was 76.

The death was announced Thursday by Matthias Muller, president of Porsche AG, who credited the late designer with establishing a "design that is a legacy."

Porsche gained worldwide recognition at the age of 27 when he unveiled the first Porsche 911 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963.

Recalling the design process, Porsche said: "Right from the start the specification was that the car had to be instantly recognizable as a Porsche from its silhouette."

The two-door luxury coupe initially was called the Porsche 901, until a patent issue with Peugeot forced a change in name.

In addition, Porsche also designed the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS, a Formula One racing car that has been praised for its sleek, forward design.

Porsche was born in Stuttgart, Germany, on December 11, 1935, to Dorothea and Ferry Porsche. He was named for his grandfather, Ferdinand Porsche, according to the company.

As the story goes, he spent much of his time in the engineering and development offices of his grandfather, who is credited with the original design of the Volkswagen Beetle in the 1930s.

F.A. Porsche, as he was referred to by his colleagues, joined the company at the age of 22 and soon developed one of the first clay models of the successor of the Porsche 356, the company's first production automobile, according to Muller.

In 1962, he took over as the head of the Porsche design studio and one year later unveiled what became the Porsche 911.

Porsche, who later served as president of the company, is credited with playing a major role in reshaping it in the 1990s and guiding it through an economic turnaround, according to Porsche AG.

Porsche will be buried in a private ceremony in Zell am See, Germany, the company said. An official service will be held in Stuttgart at a later date.

People we've lost in 2012: The lives they lived

Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.