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Malcolm Flynn | Apr 7, 2012

Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche has died at 76 years of age in Salzburg, Austria.

Ferdinand Alexander was the third generation of Ferdinand Porsches. His grandfather, Ferdinand Porsche, designed the so-named 'people's car', the Volkswagen beetle, and later founded Porsche Automobiles.

His father, Ferdinand ‘Ferry’ Porsche, besides penning the iconic 356, built the company into a standalone manufacturer.

Ferdinand Alexander (the third’s) greatest contribution to the Porsche Automobiles company was leading the design of the original 911.

After starting work with Porsche in 1958, Ferdinand Alexander became the head of Porsche’s design department in 1962. In 1963, he penned the replacement for the 356 - a car his father had designed over a decade earlier.

In 1964, the new model was launched as the 911 and has become one of the most influential and respected sports cars of all time.

Ferdinand Alexander went on to design the Type 804 Formula 1 car and the 904 Carrera GTS models.

An industrial designer rather than an engineer like his forebears, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche established the then standalone Porsche Design Studio, in Stuttgart in 1972.

Through Porsche Design, Ferdinand Alexander designed watches, spectacles and pens, among other items, always maintaining a priority of purpose over styling detail.

"Design must be functional," he is quoted as saying, "and functionality must be translated into visual aesthetics, without gimmicks that have to be explained."

Porsche boss Matthias Müller paid tribute to Ferdinand Alexander in an official statement from the company.

“As creator of the Porsche 911, he founded a design culture in our company that shapes our sports cars today. His philosophy of good design is for us a legacy that we will continue to do with honour.”

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche is survived by his wife and three sons.

Above: the latest in a long line of 911s, the 991.
Above: the latest in a long line of 911s, the 991.

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