30/07/2011 Five Questions For: Dr. Wolfgang Porsche
Wolfgang Porsche, youngest son of company founder Ferry Porsche and Chairman of Porsche's Supervisory Board, took part in this year’s Ennstal Classic. Classic Driver met the scion of the legendary family on the first day of the rally for an interview.
Mr. Porsche, you are not only a regular at the Ennstal Classic, but it's also the only rally you compete in. What is it you enjoy about this event?
I enjoy the countryside, which is beautiful. And because the Ennstal Classic is so well organised, it’s simply great fun. Besides, you meet a lot of very pleasant people here.
You're generally to be found in a classic Porsche, preferably a Porsche 356 B Carrera 2-litre. Could you even begin to imagine an alternative?
To be at the wheel of a Porsche makes sense in my case. Of course, I drive many different cars, but for me it must always be a Porsche. For everyday use I have a Panamera. And a Cayenne.
Let’s take a look at the history of the brand. How do you view the development of this sports car manufacturer?
The history of Porsche is quite unique. My father, Ferry Porsche, always related how he searched for a car and never found exactly what he was looking for. So he built that car himself. That was the first roadster to leave the Gmünd factory, still incorporating a large number of Volkswagen parts. However, step-by-step, the cars were built independently of these components, resulting in a genuine Porsche line.
Tradition signifies quality and today it has become an important marketing tool. How relevant is the heritage of Porsche as a marketing strategy for new models?
It is essential; and it's also important when positioning Porsche within the Volkswagen Corporation. This integration with Volkswagen, by the way, has long been the aim, since Porsche with its production of 100,000 units would not have had the capacity to develop electronics and platforms, nor to meet CO2 emissions requirements on its own. That is why a large partner is so vital. But Porsche must always remain true to itself. Otherwise, there is a problem.
To conclude, the question of questions: What Porsche does Mr. Porsche himself prefer?
Let’s begin with the 356: this car has an engine that is one of a kind. It’s highly responsive and really fabulous. This sports car is great fun to drive but I also really enjoy driving the 959 – and I’m just as thrilled by the current Turbo S. The Porsche 959 was a mobile R & D department all on its own; it had height adjustment and certain (differential) locks. Only 220 were built. The most important thing, however, is to drive the "old" cars. Just to have them standing around in order to proclaim your ownership is nonsense. They need to be driven. If I could spare the time, I’d be competing in a lot more of these rallies.