Creator of Porsche 911 sports car dies aged 76

Thu Apr 5, 2012 1:20pm EDT
 
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, the creator of Porsche's 911 sports car, has died at age 76, Porsche said on Thursday.

A grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, who founded the Stuttgart-based sports car maker and developed the Volkswagen Beetle under a contract with the Nazis in the 1930s, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche invented the 911 model in 1963.

Originally labeled as 901, Porsche's two-seater classic model has since been upgraded over seven generations of the car with the latest version unveiled at last September's Frankfurt Auto Show.

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche quit the company's operational business in 1972, though stayed on as member of Porsche's supervisory board. He was chairman between 1990 and 1993 when Porsche was still saddled with losses stemming from declining vehicle sales and towering development costs.

The company gave no cause for Porsche's death. A cousin of Ferdinand Piech, the chairman of VW, Porsche was a member of the Porsche and Piech families who together control about 90 percent of common shares of Porsche SE, the holding company which holds about 51 percent of VW stock.

VW and Porsche agreed to combine in 2009 after Porsche racked up more than 10 billion euros ($13.06 billion) of debt in a botched attempt to take over VW.

Europe's biggest carmaker is in the process of buying the remaining 50.1 percent stake in Porsche's automotive business it does not own after the two companies dropped plans for a merger last September because of pending lawsuits in the United States. ($1 = 0.7655 euros)

(Reporting By Andreas Cremer; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)