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Porsche is undoubtedly one of the world’s most recognisable and exclusive brands. It is one of a very few select companies whose image and the connotations attached to it transcend the product itself. Its cars are a status symbol of the highest order; a sign of wealth, class, exclusivity, and success.

Everybody knows what Porsche is, but few people really know anything about the company itself, other than that it produces some of the world’s most beautiful road cars. Below are five secrets about Porsche that will give you a better idea of the history of this incongruously well-known yet enigmatic power house.

The Volkswagen Beetle, really?

Professor Ferdinand Porsche founded the company, with the snappy title “Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche GmbH” in 1931, in the centre of Stuttgart. At first the company offered motor vehicle development work and consulting, but did not build any cars under its own name. This all changed when the new company received a working brief from the German government to design a car for the German people. The end result of this was the Volkswagen Beetle, one of the most successful car designs of all time. The connection with Porsche and the Beetle does not stop there, as the Porsche 64 was developed in 1939 using many components from the Beetle.

Coming to America:

U.S. importer Max Hoffman played a huge role in developing Porsche’s presence in the US. He displayed the first U.S. Porsches in his New York City showroom in 1950. As he wanted to know first-hand all of the cars he was proudly selling, Hoffman conducted Porsche 356 test drives on Park Avenue. Adding another little piece of legend to the Porsche brand is the fact that Hoffman’s Porsche dealer showroom was designed by famous Architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Hoffman was bowled over completely by Porsche and in addition to importing the first Porsche models to the United States, he also raced the cars. Several of Porsche’s initial U.S. racing victories can be attributed to him.

Keeping It In the Family:

In the suburbs of Stuttgart there is a secret Porsche museum, dedicated to the history and also the future of the famous brand. The company’s fortunes will be forever intertwined with the city as all production of all Porsche models takes place here, and the world famous Porsche coat of arms was actually inspired by that of the Free People’s State of Württemberg of former Weimar Germany, which had Stuttgart as its capital. The museum is home to over five-hundred models of the car, covering the whole history of the brand. The museum’s name is not only to preserve the cars as specimens of their past, but they are all worked on regularly to keep them in actual working order. The first ever produced 911 Turbo has its home in the museum, a special present from Ferdinand Porsche to his sister, who removed the turbo badge and asked for the coloured windscreen to be replaced with a clear one as she was an artist who would drive the car up into The Alps and draw the scenery from the driver’s seat.

A little Outside Help:

It is claimed that the enduring success of the 911 model is owed to American CEO Peter Schutz, who in 1980, after seeing the proposed end of production in 1981 on a chart, extended the line with a marker and told Helmuth Bott to “make it happen.”

Rich and Famous, but how do you say it?

Recent times have been incredibly successful ones for the company which indeed claims to have the highest profit per unit sold of any car company. Whilst its popularity and fame are undeniable, there is still confusion amongst many on exactly how to pronounce the company name. In keeping with the family name of founder Ferdinand Porsche, the company’s name is pronounced [porschwa] in German, which would correspond to a sounding of the final “e” in English. However, it is often incorrectly pronounced as only a single syllable sound. Get it right!

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