Happy Birthday: 70 years of Porsche sports cars

Birthdays are best celebrated with friends and family. June 8 will mark 70 years since the first vehicle to bear the Porsche name, the 356 “No. 1” Roadster, received its street certification in 1948.

Ferry Porsche, son of Ferdinand Porsche, designed and built the original 356 in 1948 to create something new for the time: A sports car combining superb driving dynamics and performance with efficient everyday usability. Early motorsport successes inspired the company to continually develop the 356, as well as other legendary sports cars like the 550 Spyder and 904 GTS.

The 911 was first introduced in 1963 and became the quintessential sports car for everyday driving as well as an unmistakable icon for the brand. Today, the United States is the largest single market: In 2017, U.S. buyers accounted for 8,970 new 911s out of 32,000 worldwide, or 28 percent. More than half of over 30,000 race wins in Porsche history can be credited to 911 cars. Today, every Porsche carries the DNA of the 911.

The next step in the evolution of Porsche as a sports car company comes next year with the all-electric Mission E. Advanced electric powertrains are a new application for the original vision behind the 356. But e-mobility at Porsche dates back to 1898, when Ferdinand Porsche designed the Lohner-Porsche Semper Vivus – the world’s first functioning hybrid car. More recently, Porsche has demonstrated its hybrid drive expertise on the race track, winning the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans three years in a row. By 2022, Porsche will have invested more than six billion euros in e-mobility to produce both plug-in hybrids and purely electric vehicles.

The Porsche anniversary year culminates September 27-30 with the largest Porsche gathering in the world, Rennsport Reunion VI, at the legendary WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca near Monterey, California. Vintage and contemporary Porsche race cars, their drivers, and Porsche engineers are the stars of this event, which drew nearly 60,000 people when it was last held in 2015.

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