Written by Phin Upham
Porsche was founded by the Hungarian automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche. His first ventures were in the field of automotive work, usually in the form of consulting. Porsche didn’t build cars under his own name for several years.
One of Porsche’s earliest contracts was the design of a car that would be “for the people.” If this sounds familiar to you, then it will come as no surprise that Porsche had a hand in building the Volkswagen Beetle. The Beetle was one of the most successful cars of all time, with lines that continue today.
When production in Germany shifted toward wartime goods in World War II, Porsche designed several heavy tanks. Unfortunately, his designs lost out to Henschel & Son. Though they would go on to design the Tiger I and Tiger II tanks, it was Porsche’s chassis that powered the design. Porsche also had a hand in developing the Maus super tank.
Ferdinand was arrested for war crimes after the close of World War II, but never tried for those offenses. He was around to see Volkswagen fall into British hands, and the subsequent revival of the company, though he relinquished his position on the board.
At the same time, Ferdinand’s son Ferry was building a car for himself. He didn’t like the ones on the market and set out to design what would become the Porsche 356, which was the first Porsche to be sold under the brand.