If you’ve been hanging around the Porsche world long enough, you’ve likely seen the iconic photograph of Austrian ski racer Egon Zimmermann jumping over a gorgeous Porsche 356 parked between two walls of mounded snow. The daredevil act has gained renown in the Porsche world, with Hans Truöl’s photograph having been printed and reprinted as poster and art for decades now. The image shows Zimmermann soaring through the air in an impressive tuck directly over a fantastic 356 B coupe. The jump alone would be impressive, but add a Porsche and it becomes an art icon. Elegant beauty meets undeniable courage and perhaps a bit of recklessness is required to properly execute both the jump and a proper drive in a 356.
Zimmermann was an Olympic gold medalist skier by the mid-1960s, having won the 1964 Olympic downhill competition, as well as the 1962 giant slalom world championships. Egon passed away at 80 years old in 2019, but his brother Karlheinz says “Egon will always be with us. This image alone makes him immortal.” And he’s totally right. They say everyone dies twice, once when the last breath leaves our body, and a second time when our names are spoken in memory for the last time. By that account, Egon’s second life will continue on for decades to come.
As a way of memorializing the original event, Porsche put together a team and an opportunity to recreate the iconic image. Skier Aksel Lund Svindal would stand in for Zimmermann in 2021, and photographer Stefan Bogner would capture the action from ground level. There was also a full film crew on hand to record the full event from start to finish. 54 years apart, the 356 was replaced for the new run with an equally modern Porsche Taycan.
“For us this new interpretation symbolizes the bridge between the past, present, and future,” explains Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG and Board Member for Finance and IT. “Tradition is very important for our brand, yet we’re also moving full speed ahead in developing innovations for the future. This symbiosis the heart of the Porsche brand.”
Personally, to get my speed demons out I prefer driving to skiing. I’ll leave jumps like this to the professionals, and it’s probably wise that you do too!