Ferdinand A. Porsche, designer of the 911, died yesterday at the age of 76. I'm really not a car person – in general I just don't care that much. But the 911 (and for that matter, the 912), transcend "car." They are some of the most beautifully designed objects ever made.
From Bruce Weber's obituary at the New York Times:
In 1963 the new model, originally designated the 901, was introduced at an auto show. (The designation was changed to 911 after the company learned that in France, Peugeot had a claim on three-numeral designations of passenger cars with a zero between two digits.) Slightly longer and narrower than the 356, more powerful, with a six-cylinder, rather than a four-cylinder, engine, the original 911 also had more legroom, more rear seat room and bigger doors for easier entrances and exits. Mr. Porsche also modified the body of the 356, rendering the signature sloping back end and extended hood into a sleeker silhouette. It was a remarkably simple design that helped create Mr. Porsche’s reputation as a designer who prized function above all.Read the rest here.
“Design must be functional and functionality must be translated into visual aesthetics, without any reliance on gimmicks that have to be explained,” he said.