|100 Years of Ferry Porsche|
1938: Porsche in Zuffenhausen
To put an end to the provisional status of production processes in the garage of the Porsche Mansion and to bring together the Testing and Construction Departments, Ferdinand Porsche had a new plant built in the Zuffenhausen district of Stuttgart in 1938. Ferry Porsche had al ready purchased the real estate for the new plant in May 1937 in Spitalwaldstrasse 2, unknowingly choosing the location where Porsche’s Main Plant remains to this very day.
The so-called zero production series of what was later to become the VW Beetle was built in Zuffenhausen in June 1938, with Ferry Porsche taking on increasing responsibility for the car’s development. “What I liked most was driving the VW on its bare chassis, with the seat bolted in position but with no body on the car so that you saw the wheels turning and felt the wind rushing by. That was when I developed my preference for clearly defined corners and wings on the car, which is why Type 60 had four real wings on each corner.”
Developing the Volkswagen, Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche had by no means given up their favourite projects, the construction and development of racing and sports cars. On the contrary – in the late ‘30s they had the idea for the first time to start production of their own car, Ferry Porsche already considering the option to build a small sports car based on the Volkswagen back in 1938.
To test his new idea he fitted his VW39 Convertible with a compressor engine. But the political leaders soon imposed a ban on using test engines from Volkswagen, since each and every engine was required for armament purposes. So instead father and son Porsche developed their own 1.5-litre sports car based on the underlying concept of the Auto Union racing car. Code-named Type 114, this new sports car was to have a mid-engine with two overhead camshafts and hemispherical combustion chambers. The gearbox was positioned behind the rear axle and three passengers were to sit at the front next to each other, the driver with the steering wheel either in the middle or to the left. “I was more committed to this project than my father and our top managers, since I was convinced there would be a large market for such a car after the war”, said Ferry Porsche later.