Published in recognition of the company’s 70th anniversary, 70 Years of Porsche Sports Cars, understandably highlights and promotes the milestones along the way for which the Stuttgart motor manufacturer has become well known. The book is published under the Edition Porsche Museum logo by Delius Klasing, a publisher who has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Porsche.
Porsche really had no choice but to publish a book to recognise its seven-decade journey, and predictably, competition on this topic in the publishing market was always going to be high. But equally, Porsche was destined to win the race by including a group of high-profile names in their corporate publication, because many (but not all) of the names interviewed are on their payroll. This advantage ensured that Porsche gained the stories of certain race drivers, designers, engineers, celebrities and other notable personalities, first-hand. The list of celebrities includes the likes of: Patrick Long, Patrick Dempsey, Maria Sharapova, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Keanu Reeves, Magnus Walker and Mark Webber.
Topics covered are as diverse as: Lifestyle, Technology, Company, Community, Models, People and Motorsport. The chapters include a colourful mixture of extracts and cover images from a number of Christophorus magazines, photos of celebrity Porsche owners, a brief history of Porsche’s motorsport achievements, a chapter by Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, and one about Ferry and Louise Porsche amongst others. Various personalities have been profiled in some of these chapters, and these have been chosen for their position in society, their field of expertise or high level of achievement.
With the above in mind, some might consider the book to be light on substance, but it in fact focusses instead on shorter and more diverse topics. There is some great history in the book, but this is perhaps at the expense of continuity, as the topics are not logically linked. Here though is perhaps where the book excels, because not every Porsche enthusiast wants chapter after chapter of in-depth company history, or a breakdown of every Porsche model ever produced. Instead, the modern reader is looking for short, bite-size topics that can be quickly consumed in between other tasks – it’s a case of horses for courses. At the end of the day it should be remembered that the reason for the book’s existence is to celebrate seventy wonderful years of achievement and recognition in the marketplace, and on the race tracks of the world.
There can be no doubt about the fact that Porsche does have something significant to blow its trumpet about, having grown from an almost cottage industry operation in a collection of sheds rented from a saw-mill, to the huge corporation it is today. The list of Porsche’s achievements in these last seven decades across a wide spectrum of operations is monumental, and could fill several books. But in comparison with most other motor manufacturers, remember Porsche is a niche market operator just like Ferrari (and some others), they still carry huge recognition in the industry. With nineteen overall victories in the Le Mans 24 Hour race, Porsche is way ahead of the next player, the mighty Audi race team, who has thirteen victories.
Porsche’s other accomplishments in the sports car market have regularly confounded the predictions of the best brains in the industry, such as the launch of the 930 Turbo model at the height of the oil crisis of the early/mid-70s. The company’s engineering prowess has earned it handsome financial rewards and recognition in the industry. In other words, they have a lot to crow about!
Taking all of the above into account, would I buy this book to place it on my bookshelf? If I wanted to have a ‘complete’ collection of Porsche books, then I would undoubtedly buy it, because it celebrates a very important milestone in the company’s history. If you wanted a reference book, something that dug deep on a particular topic, then this book is perhaps not for you. But be assured, this is a handsome publication and a certain conversation starter. So, after all is said and done, I would probably make space for it on my bookshelf.