We’re familiar with pictures of Ferdinand Porsche in dark hat and overcoat, or in three-piece tweeds, looking through a wheel. These senior pics have kindled a soft, shed-tinkering grandfather image. But here’s a pic you might not have seen before, which proves he was once a young thruster, keen to get ahead.
Now, the Porsche Museum has rescued the vehicle he designed for his success: the Egger-Lohner C2 Phaeton. This first-ever Porsche design has been brought back to Stuttgart and will be officially unveiled on January 31st: the museum’s fifth birthday.
Ferdinand Porsche P1
Porsche called it the P1 (Porsche 1), engraving the designation into its main components (below). As with so much of Ferdinand’s early work, it was powered by electricity, with a compact drivetrain weighing just 130 kilograms. This 1898 vehicle had a range of up to 50 miles, with a switchable body for summer and winter. Excellent!
In 1899, Porsche raced his creation at the international vehicle exhibition in Berlin: centre of the motoring universe. Over a 25-mile course and with three passengers on board, Porsche drove his own P1 to victory, 18 minutes ahead of his nearest competitor. The man was a proper legend.
Porsche is presenting the P1 as a historical artefact, prefacing Porsche’s early commissions and his later work. No over-restoration and no recreations: kudos to them for making it so. I urge you to visit Stuttgart and learn more about Ferdinand and the P1 at the Porsche Museum. Entry is free all weekend over Feb 1st and 2nd.