Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, the man behind designing one of the most recognizable cars ever, Porsche 911, has died at the age of 76 years. Born in the year 1935 and popularly known as FA by his colleagues, friends and family, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, is the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche – founder of Porsche Automobile.
FA’s father, Ferdinand Anton Ernst Porsche, worked as a technical designer in his father’s firm, Porsche Automobile. Because of this, FA started getting familiar with car design from an early age. By the age of 22, FA had completed his course at the Ulm School of Design and started training under design director Erwin Komenda, who helped designing VW Beetle. He took over Porsche Design in 1958.
Just after taking over Porsche Design, FA was faced with a huge challenge: to replace their first car – Porsche 356. By 1963, FA launched Porsche 911 with a six cylinder engine to replace the 356’s 4 cylinder heart. Initially, FA named 911 as 901, but due to Peugeot, who held the patent for car names with 0 in the middle, FA had to settle for 911.
Today, the Porsche 911 is in its 7th generation and the car still has its original DNA. According to Manny Alban, President, Porsche Motor Club, America (has 106,000 members), said, “It’s a car that has evolved quite gracefully. Although the latest version has ‘Porsche Carrera S’ on the rear end. A lot of people would say you don’t need that because a Porsche enthusiast would say you can look at it and know it’s a 911. It’s very German. Everything has a purpose, every button, it all makes sense, there are no gizmos. You won’t look back 20 years later and say ‘why did they put that on there.”
FA also served as Porsche Chairman from 1990 to 1993. He is also credited for steering the company from collapsing back in the 80’s when sales hit rock bottom. FA retired in 2005, due to health issues. He held 13% share in Porsche Design. When FA retired, the Porsche Board, awarded FA with the title of Honorary Chairman. Porsche is yet to reveal the reason behind FA’s demise.