An Automotive Legend
Each generation of the Porsche family begets its own generation of sports car
A speedster version of the 356 was introduced in 1954. Shown here is a 1955 model, which was originally white. The speedster was sporty, light, minimalist and affordable, a cut-down version of the 356 cabriolet with raffish good looks. Its low-racked windshield could be removed for racing amd the cockpit sported lightweight bucket seats.
The iconic name Porsche is synonymous with style, glamour and speed. Ironically, the car’s inception was closely aligned with the humble Volkswagen, known in Germany as “the People’s Car.”
The automobile pioneer and designer of the original Porsche, Ferdinand Porsche, chief engineer at Mercedes-Benz in the 1920s, was also the designer of the first Volkswagen. On Aug. 10, 1931, Ferdinand Porsche founded the company “Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG” in Stuttgart, Germany. After the introduction of the Volkswagen Beetle in 1938, the first car produced under the Porsche logo was the “Porsche 64” the following year, made with mechanical parts from the Beetle. The company, which is often shortened to “Porsche AG,” built three “Type 64” cars as a publicity stunt for a much-anticipated 1939 road race from Berlin to Rome. Due to the start of the Second World War, the road race never took place.
Hans Michel Piech, a grandson of the Porsche AG founder, is a part-time resident of Vero Beach, along with his wife, Veronika. The rest of the year the Piechs live in Vienna, Austria. Michel, as he is known, has been involved in various capacities at Porsche AG. In the 1970s, he was vice president of distribution. Subsequently, the Porsche-Piech owners decided that no family members could be employed at the company. Most, like Michel, have remained actively involved in the company by serving on various boards and by stock ownership. He is currently on the supervisory boards at holding companies Porsche SE and Porsche Holding.