On a snowy December 11, 1935, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche (known as F.A. to the business world, and Butzi to family and friends) was born to Ferry Porsche and Dorothea Reitz. He was the grandson of the legendary Ferdinand Porsche, who started the company. One of his closest cousins was Ferdinand Piëch, the renowned VW Chairman/Engineer. From kindergarten to his senior year in high school, he attended the Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany. For his college years, he went to the Ulm School of Design. But, he was rejected by the board of directors because they doubted his talent. He immediately found a job at Porsche’s design department, which was then run by Erwin Komenda.
In 1961, he started bringing sketches of cars to Komenda. In 1960, he brought in the sketch of what we now know as the Porsche 911. Komenda did not like the design and went ahead designing some unapproved changes to the the project code “901.” F.A. and Ferry Porsche both complained. So, Ferry set the main attributes concerning: wheelbase, power stats, suspension, and interior space. Still, Komenda would not allow the design to go to the engineering department. So, Ferry and F.A. took their plans across the street to a well-known coachbuilder, Reutter. Within three years, the car was ready for production. Just four months before the car was about to be shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Peugeot intervened because they had a trademark protection for any production car that had a “0” in it. Ferry immediately paid the fine, and the car became the Porsche 911. His two door, four-seat, rear-engine creation is now one of the best-selling sports cars in history. Production began in October 1964.
In 1972, he retired from his job as head of Porsche’s design section, and he went out with a bang that was heard on racetracks all over the world. Thus, the Porsche 904 was born. The 904 didn’t need to be the 914 (that came later), as it wasn’t a production car. It was a race car built to win. And win it did. In just three years of racing, it won 130 podium wins, and only suffered two major crashes.
After F.A. Porsche left Porsche’s design section to start his own company; Porsche Design . He started the company in Stuttgart, Germany, but after two years, he moved the company to Zell am See, Austria. While he was CEO of Porsche Design, he designed a chronograph wristwatch that was produced for almost twenty years by the Swiss watchmaker, Orfina. It was totally different from other chronograph wristwatches by being made out of matte black chromed steel. As Porsche Design grew, the product range completely diversified. Washing machines, nine bathroom designs, various furniture, kitchen knives, television receivers, desk lamps, cool tobacco pipes with air-cooled engine-inspired fins, pens made out of the wire-cloth stuff that is still used for oil lines in racing engines, computer monitors, computer external hard drives, coffee makers, and even a grand piano for the Austrian piano maker, Bösendorfer. What a slacker…
In 2005, F.A. “Butzi” Porsche retired due to health reasons. A few years before he retired, he was asked by a journalist about his design work. His reply was, “”A product that is coherent in form requires no embellishment. It is enhanced by the purity of its form. Good design should be honest.”
On April 5, 2012, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche died. The causes of his death were not provided from the Porsche family, Porsche AG, or Porsche Design. Also, Porsche AG and Porsche Design declined to give more information about survivors when making the announcement. Butzi Porsche was 76 years old.
Here is a picture of him in 1999, while he was waiting for a brand-new Porsche Boxster. And he was at the factory!