Porsche 911 Designer Butzi Porsche Dead at 76
By Rory Carroll
Ferdinand Alexander “Butzi” Porsche died Thursday morning in Salzburg, Austria. He was 76.
Since 1972, Porsche had led his own industrial design firm, Porsche Design. That firm produced numerous highly regarded, functionalist designs for a wide array of consumer products.
Of course, Butzi Porsche will be most remembered for his role in designing the car that would come to be known as the Porsche 911. The basic shape of that car, which he first sketched in 1959, has remained almost unchanged through 49 years of Porsche 911 production.
In those 49 years, scores of other beloved automobile shapes have been abandoned, left behind by fashion. The very best of them have become objects of nostalgia. With a few evolutionary adjustments, Butzi Porsche's 911 has remained both fashionable and highly desirable for half a century. The shape is simple, purposeful and beautiful in a way that few other man-made objects are.
Butzi Porsche was fond of saying, “Good design is honest.” But beyond honesty, beauty and the other superficial terms of aesthetic evaluation are the elemental forms that signify and define. In his design for the 911, Butzi Porsche exposed something universal and essential to the sports-car ideal. For a designer who so valued honesty, such a work will make a fine legacy.
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