For most Porschephiles, there is but one master reference guide; a Porsche bible if you will. What great work do I speak of? None other than Karl Ludvidgsen’s Excellence Was Expected. In fact, if you think your Porsche library is complete but it is missing this key reference, you my friend are most definitely mistaken.
Since 1977 Karl Ludvigsen’s Porsche: Excellence Was Expected has been regarded as the definitive work on Porsche history. In this masterwork Ludvigsen presents the inner workings, masterpieces and failures of an independent automaker that has exerted a disproportionately powerful influence on the automotive industry. Remarkable both for its breadth of coverage and its technical depth, Excellence Was Expected covers every Porsche road and racing car from the company’s beginnings through the development of the 2009 Panamera.
With this new edition, Excellence Was Expected remains “the definitive archetypal marque history” (Autocar) that it was in its first edition. And Karl Ludvigsen continues to set the bar high for automotive historians, just as the company he chronicles continues to shape our very definition of the term “sports car.”
Bentley, the publisher of Excellence Was Expected, created a video that discusses and displays the updates. However, rather than relying directly on the editor I decided to reach out to Karl myself and get a description of the updates directly from him.
Here’s what Mr. Ludvidgsen had to say:
It was a big decision to undertake a full update of the 2003 edition so soon, but when Bentley was planning a reprint we decided we owed it to our readers to carry on just as we’d been doing in the previous chapters. It was a lot of work but we managed it!
With the third volume being overhauled I went back to previous chapters and made updates and additions wherever required. The second Boxster chapter was updated completely as was the chapter on the 996 and Chapter 59 on the special 911s, the Turbo and the GT models.
I was able to break out a complete chapter on the Cayenne as number 60 with a lot of new material on its creation, manufacture and the market’s reaction to it. I even have the Hybrid version included!
In the previous book I only mentioned the Carrera GT but this gets its own chapter, 61, in the new book, complete with photos and technical details that I’m sure few people have seen elsewhere.
Then with Chapter 62, dedicated to the RS Spyder, we suddenly break out in all-singing, all-dancing color. From there onward everything is color where we have it, lending a great quality to the rest of Volume 3. Here’s the whole RS Spyder story in the detail that our readers crave.
Chapter 63 is dedicated to Porsche’s brilliant new star, the Cayman. We even have a picture of the rare racing version built by Alzen Motorsport. In 64 we introduce the 997 version of the 911 in all its road going varieties, followed in Chapter 65 by the Turbo and GT racing and road versions. They’re just great in color with lots of technical specs and illustrations.
In Chapter 66 I introduce the Panamera and provide my insights into the stock-market machinations and the involvement with Volkswagen. We conclude with our tabulations of Porsche racing successes, up to date through 2007. That’s it, John, executed with the care and precision that people expect from Bentley.
I went on to ask Karl what type of Porsches we could find in his garage?
My garage is Porsche-free at the moment though I wouldn’t mind adding a Cayman! Instead it houses a 1937 Cord 812 and a Riley RMS sports as shown in the attached. My first and last Porsche was a 1951 1300 which I owned in 1955 when I was a student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
Given the amount of work that Karl has published on Porsche, his depth and breath of knowledge, I was quite amazed to learn that he hasn’t owned an example of our coveted marque since the early 50’s. Personally, I won’t hold it against him. 🙂 Hopefully, with the royalties from Excellence was Expected and other works he can add that Cayman sometime soon!!
I’ve just about finished my copy of Genesis of Genius and will be publishing a review on that shortly. Hopefully, I’m not giving too much away by saying that as expensive as it is, it is worth the price of admission.
Karl Ludvigsen: Porsche Spyders 1956-1964
Book Review: White Racers from Zuffenhausen by Karl Ludvigsen
Review of Hunt for 901 by Kevin Gosselin
Book Review: Porsche High Performance Driving Handbook, 2nd Edition, by Vic Elford
[Source: Amazon.com, Bentley Publishers, Karl Ludvigsen]