Celebrating 75 Years of Porsche

Top class.

This is a big year for Porsche. The enthusiast brand celebrates its 75th anniversary. It returns to the top class at the 24 Heures du Mans on the 100th anniversary of the legendary round-the-clock affair. The iconic Porsche 911 reaches its 60th year. And earlier this year, the five-millionth Porsche, a 911 Targa 4 GTS, rolled off the assembly line.

Over the course of three days in June, all those milestone accomplishments were celebrated, first at Porsche headquarters in Stuttgart and later at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. The festivities began on June 8, 75 years to the day that the very first Porsche, the 356 “No. 1” Roadster, was granted its general operating permit. “I couldn’t find the sports car of my dreams,” company founder Dr. Ferdinand (Ferry) Porsche said back in 1948, “so I built it myself.” The perfect start for an authentic enthusiast brand.

At the Porsche Museum, at Porscheplatz 1 in the Stuttgart suburb of Zuffenhausen, there was a brilliant callback to this special moment in company history. The roads surrounding the museum were closed to traffic, spectator stands were erected across the street, and a crowd of “Porschephiles” gathered.



The spectacle kicked into high gear when that original Porsche, the 356 “No. 1” Roadster, piloted by former Formula One and Porsche factory driver Mark Webber, powered into view. In the passenger seat: Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, youngest son of the company founder. Not many manufacturers have had the foresight to keep the very first car built by the company. That “No. 1” is owned by Porsche, still runs strongly, and looks brand new is a brilliant trifecta.

As the evening progressed, the crowd witnessed an inspired collection of cars driven by a sequence of famous names. There was the Porsche that won the infamous Dakar Rally in 1984. There were the racers of incredible stature Hans-Joachim Stuck and Walter Röhrl. And there was the magical Porsche 956, conqueror of Le Mans races past.

A brand with such a rich history, Porsche is nevertheless entering a complicated time. The remainder of the push toward its first full century in business will be largely electrified. By 2030, 80 per cent of Porsche vehicles will be all-electric. The challenge now is to ensure the brand attributes carry forward in a very different way.

The Porsche Taycan, introduced in 2019, has represented a fantastic start. There are more electric Porsches to follow soon, including the next Macan and 718 Boxster. Further down the road, there’s a potential all-electric hypercar to consider, a model unveiled at the Porsche Museum. Named the Mission X, it’s a stunning concept that Oliver Blume, chairman of the executive board of Porsche AG, suggests may be built one day. If this does happen, it will combine all-electric efficiency with mythical levels of performance. The hypercar will have an expected power-to-weight ratio of roughly one metric horsepower per kilogram. For reference, this is around twice the power-to-weight ratio of the 918 Spyder hybrid supersports car of 2013.



According to Blume, should the Mission X go into production, its goal would be to become the fastest production vehicle around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. That record is currently held by the Mercedes-AMG One, powered by an engine from that brand’s Formula One race car.

In the absence of more detailed specifications for the Mission X, it’s enough to consider its jaw-dropping design. The two doors swing wide open and extend into the roof, like the Porsche 917 race car that won Le Mans in 1970 and ’71. The windscreen is wide and features a huge glass area, including an additional small glass panel above the windscreen. The combination of all these elements gives the cockpit a glass dome effect.

The area for the driver is coloured differently from the rest of the passenger cabin, coloured grey as opposed to the brown elsewhere. The interior is definitely inspired by racing. There are six-point seatbelts, open-top steering wheel, shift paddles, and multiple on-board cameras. It’s easy to see that Porsche understands the future of motorsport will either be all-electric or heavily electrified.

On the exterior, the design of the lights is particularly inspired. The LED headlight strips recall past Porsche race cars such as the 906 and 908. At the rear, horizontal LED tail lights surround the Porsche wordmark. This wordmark is also illuminated, and the e in Porsche pulsates while the vehicle is being recharged. Slick.

Porsche has so much history to celebrate. And with the Porsche Mission X and the brand’s continued efforts in motorsport, there’s so much still to be excited about.