To be able to write on your résumé that you worked for one of Porsche’s CEOs would be quite an achievement. Tilman Brodbeck can however do a little better than that, for in a 40-year career, he was assistant to no fewer than five successive Porsche presidents. But, as he tells us, he held other posts too. When he started at Zuffenhausen, the company was still ruled by Ferry Porsche, whose nephew and Technical Director Ferdinand Piëch, was literally snapping at his heels.
Unlike many of his contemporaries who went to Stuttgart University to complete their education, Tilman Brodbeck went further afield, to Darmstadt 100 miles to the north, for his engineering studies: “I wanted to get away from home,” he smiles revealing the slightly nonconformist streak that runs through much of his thinking. His speciality at Darmstadt was in airflow techniques, a subject then very little developed. Tilman’s background meant that after he joined Porsche he was promoted to body project engineer. “One of my tasks was on the 924 (Porsche’s first front engined model) where getting sufficient cooling air to the engine was quite a challenge within the overall shape we wanted for the car.”