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The First Porsche—Almost

Well before he set up his own engineering office, Ferdinand Porsche planned to produce a car in his own name. By 1939, he and his team had designed it—an amazing forerunner of the Carrera GT of the 21st Century.

The VW Special known at the Porsche Type 64 never got to compete in the Berlin to Rome rally planned for September 1939.

Story by Karl Ludvigsen

Creating his own car company was “an old idea of my father’s,” Ferry Porsche recalled. The idea dated back at least to 1923. “When he left Austro Daimler in 1923 to go to Mercedes,” Ferry continued, “he had the idea to do something a little like what Bugatti had done. It was a question of either having enough money to start a factory or to go to Mercedes as technical director. He didn’t have enough money, so he went to Mercedes.” When, in 1930, Porsche decided to set up a company of his own, car making was still on his agenda. To a colleague he wrote, in September 1930, that “I foresee opening a design office and subsequently founding a manufacturing company.” This was one of the main reasons why he chose Stuttgart as the home for his new venture. In addition to having a villa there, Porsche knew Stuttgart and its capabilities well from his Daimler years. Renowned firms like Bosch, Mahle, Reutter and Hirth stood ready to help build his prototypes.

In plan view the wide-greenhouse version of the Type 114 showed the severe vee of its windscreen, planned to keep form drag to a minimum. This model was used for wind-tunnel testing.

Moreover, Stuttgart—which Porsche liked to say was “at the center of Europe”—could help the engineer achieve his goal of becoming a producer, as well as a designer of cars. He wanted to be fully in charge of his destiny, free from the sleeve-tugging influence of the boards under which he’d previously chafed.

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