By Ronan Glon
Thursday, Apr 5th, 2012 @ 12:40 pm
 
Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, the man who is responsible for designing the first generation of the Porsche 911, has died at 76 years old in Salzburg, Austria. The cause of death was not released.

Ferdinand Alexander was born on December 11th, 1935. He was the oldest son of Ferry Porsche and Dorothy Porsche, and was nicknamed "Butzi" by his family. His grandfather was Ferdinand Porsche, the man who designed the original Volkswagen Beetle.

The passion for design started running through Ferdinand Alexander's blood at a very early age, and he was known to build his own toys. He started working for the family company in 1958, and in 1962 became the head of Porsche's design department. In 1963, he penned a replacement for the iconic 356 sports car that his father had designed over a decade earlier.

The car featured a rear-mounted engine, tall front fenders and a low front hood. It was initially dubbed the 901, but Porsche had to abandon that name at the last minute because Peugeot had trademarked every three-number name that had a zero in the middle.

Porsche launched the car in 1964 under the name 911. The car is now in its seventh generation, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential and respected sports cars of all time.

Aside from the 911, some of Ferdinand's Alexander's notable automotive designs include the Type 804, a Formula 1 car, and the 904 Carrera GTS.

Ferdinand Alexander left his family's company in 1972 and founded Porsche Design, a company which he relocated to Zell am See, Austria, two years later. Porsche Design has become a full-fledged luxury brand that sells a complete line of items such as luggage, timepieces, glasses, pens, and even tobacco pipes.

Ferdinand Alexander served as the honorary chairman of the Porsche supervisory board until 2005, when he retired from all professional activity.

"We mourn the death of Ferdinand Alexander Porsche," said Porsche in a statement released earlier today. "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 honor."

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