Farewell to Ferdinand ‘Butzi’ Porsche: 1935-2012

Porsche culture reached the end of an era last Friday, when Ferdinand Alexander Porsche passed away.

Butzi with design team. Note 911 model, and 904 on the drawing board.

Ferdinand ‘Butzi’ was the eldest son of Ferry, son of Ferdinand. Ferry once said: “We all have a desire to create something that will show we were here, and did something of value. To create something timeless.” Fifty years ago, his eldest son fulfilled that ambition.

Butzi’s breakthough was not his favourite: this award went to the 904. It was not the most expensive, nor the most exclusive. But it was the most authentic and engaging of Porsches. Butzi gave the world a Porsche that answered more desires than any before, or since. It was, of course, the 911.

Butzi believed that design was not fashion. Good design was functionality. Functional items fit with our needs: they are relevant.

When relevance touches the soul, the subconscious creates deep, unbreakable connections. When something is irrelevant, our conscious minds disconnect and discard, but such a fate never befell Butzi’s creation. 901, 911, 964, 993, 996, 997, 991: call it what you will, since that first line emerged from the mind of Butzi Porsche, the 911 has been the world’s most relevant sports car.

With so many 911s from the model’s half-century history still used and abused, cherished and adored, the revelance is proven. Almost fifty years after its arrival, the 911 remains the machine most connected to the practice of driving, and most aspired to by those who seek the ultimate driving experience.

Through Ferdinand Alexander, all of us who love the 911 discovered one great thing: an instant route to satisfaction. Sitting in Ferdinand’s 911, surrounded by his vision of perfection, we enjoy a space that is timeless: simultaneously of its time, and of ours. We who cannot imagine life without our 911s know its true purpose: it is a direct connection to three generations of engineering genius, and a vital component in the engine of the super-ego.

It’s tough to say goodbye to friends, even tougher when you’ve never met them. But be sure that if you own and enjoy a 911, F. A. Porsche was a friend: one of your best. Let this be in our minds as we say farewell to our friend and inspiration, Butzi Porsche.

Adieu Ferdinand Alexander, on your journey to the arms of your father. You will never be forgotten by those you have inspired. Rest well, now in peace.

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche: 1935-2012

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