Yesterday, June 8th, marked the 60th anniversary for our beloved Marque. Porsche, as a company, has been in the automotive business much longer than 60 years. Prior to building his own cars all of Porsche’s work had been for other manufacturers and brands (Porsche is credited with the development of the VW Beetle and the Mercedes Type S among others). However, it was 60 years ago to the day (yesterday) that the first car, a 356, rolled off the assembly line wearing the Porsche name. Less than one month later, that same car went on to win its first class victory at the Innsbruck Stadtrennen.
There is so much history, allegory and lore around Porsche (the man, the company, the car) that it would be next to impossible to showcase it in a simple blog post. Fortunately, there have been many, many books written on the subject. I don’t know about you, but I’m a voracious reader, especially on topics I enjoy. In addition, my family loves to purchase books for me (especially on the subject of Porsche) as its an easy, no-brainer gift that they know I will appreciate. As a result, I’ve accumulated quite a collection of books on and about Porsche. I’ve read them all cover to cover, most more than a few times. Here are two of my favorites that I think you might enjoy if you want to learn more about the history of Porsche.
Books about Porsche History
First up is Porsche: The Road from Zuffenhausen is a lavishly illustrated history of the most recognized sports-car maker in the world—Porsche—a story that began more than a century ago. This is the first book in more than twenty-five years to chronicle in such meticulous detail the early years of the renowned automobile company. Perfect for the more than 500,000 Porsche owners and the millions of Porsche enthusiasts, Porsche is a lively narrative of the cars and the people who created them. In the opening chapters, the reader will find the true heart of Porsche and its dedication to design and engineering, and then move on to the pre–World War II development of the first Porsche prototypes, as well as the development of the Volkswagen by Professor Ferdinand Porsche in the late 1930s. The story of the company’s early postwar years in Austria is a tale of commitment to an idea, an idea that resulted in the first 356 model and in a very short time established Porsche as one of Germany’s leading car makers.
Here is the entire history not only of the 356 but also of the development of competition versions, and of the evolution of the 550 RSK and the legendary 904 Carrera GTS. The story of the 911 occupies half the book, as this model has survived for nearly four decades—the longest production of any single postwar automobile design.
I really enjoy this publication. I keep it as a both a book for reference and for discussion around the coffee table. While most books on Porsche are specific to the history of a certain model, this book covers everything from start to finish. The narrative is brilliantly complemented by wonderful historical documents and photographs from the factory archives, provided through the cooperation of Porsche AG and the Porsche family, as well as original color photography by the author.
Second is Porsche 911: Perfection by Design by Randy Leffingwell.
If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you may remember I interviewed Randy in early January of this year after receiving this book as a Christmas present. It’s my opinion, that this is one of the better general history books, on the Porsche 911, available today. The photography, combined with an easy to read writing style provide for a great background on the most storied of all models in the Porsche line-up.
If you don’t feel like going as in-depth as some of these books do, the Porsche web-site is an excellent place to get some hi-level history about the company and the cars. The more I keep digging, the more I find. If you’re looking for a list of the best-selling, Porsche model specific books, you can find them here.
Happy Birthday to the Porsche brand and here’s to 60 more!