Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, designer of the Porsche 911, passes away

The scion of the Porsche family and designer of the original Porsche 911 dies at 76--sadly, on the same day the seventh generation Porsche 911 wins accolades at the New York Auto Show.
Written by Reena Jana, Contributor

To design fans, whether or not they're drivers themselves, the Porsche 911 is a classic example of a signature silhouette that helped define a brand. Today, the designer of the original version of the Porsche 911, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, died at the age of 76 in Austria.

With its unusual shape--the protruding headlights, the low hood, the laid-back and curvaceous silhouette--the car set a stylistic precedent for Porsche. The 911 was first presented at 1963's Frankfurt Motor Show and went into production began in 1964. Nearly 50 years later, the unique look of the 911 informs many of Porsche's products.

"The creator of the Porsche 911 has founded a culture of design in our company that distinguishes our sports cars even today," Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller said to the Associated Press upon announcing the death of Porsche.

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche was the son of Ferry Porsche, who served as Porsche's chairman, and the grandson of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of the family company (himself a pioneer in auto design, having designed the original Volkswagen Beetle).

In 1972, Ferdinand Alexander formed Porsche Design Studio. With this venture, he left the administrative side of his family's business and extended the auto brand into consumer items such as time pieces and fancy pens--all with the same clean, sexy lines of the 911.

The seventh generation Porsche 911 is still turning heads and winning awards, thanks to its design legacy (and, of course, its engineering). The 2012 Porsche 911, which evokes the original's sleek look, just won the honor of 2012 World Performance Car. This news was announced at the New York International Auto Show on April 5--the same day, sadly, that Ferdinand Alexander Porsche passed away.

[Via USA Today, Associated Press, Bloomberg, PRNewswire]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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