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Designer of 911, head of Porsche Design Group, passes away

17 May 2004
London Ontario
Designer of 911, head of Porsche Design Group, passes away

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, the designer of the legendary Porsche 911 sports car, passed away April 5 in Salzburg, Germany.

Porsche was 76 years old, confirmed the German automaker.

F. A. Porsche, or "Butzi," as he was also known, was the grandson of company founder Ferdinand Porsche. He joined his father at what was then known as Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche KG in 1958, at age 23.

In 1962, he was made head of Porsche's design studio; one year later, he helped shape the iconic 911. The silhouette Ferdinand penned still graces the seventh-generation 2012 model.

Take a look at our tribute to the most striking element of the design icon F.A. Porsche penned almost 50 years ago, the silhouette of the Porsche 911.


Ferdinand also styled several well-known Porsche race cars that decade, including the Type 804 Formula One and the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS.

In 1972, Ferdinand founded Porsche Design Studio, leaving the automotive industry to instead style high-end watches, eyeglasses and writing implements. (The company later offered well-designed industrial and consumer appliances, as well.)

"Design must be functional and functionality has to be translated visually into aesthetics, without gags that have to be explained first,” Ferdinand would explain his design philosophy. “A coherently designed product requires no adornment; it should be enhanced by its form alone.”

“Good design should be honest.”

Even after leaving Porsche autogroup operations, Ferdinand stayed on as a partner and member of the supervisory board, helping to tweak the design of several sports cars. In 2005, he stepped down as president of the board, handing over the role to his son Oliver, and assumed the title of honorary president.

“We mourn the death of our partner, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche," said Matthias Müller, president and CEO of Porsche AG, in a statement. "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."

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