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Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, designer of iconic Porsche 911, dies

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 7:04 PM EST, Tue December 11, 2012
Picture from January 22, 1999 shows Ferdinand Alexander Porsche next to the logo of German car maker Porsche in Stuttgart.
Picture from January 22, 1999 shows Ferdinand Alexander Porsche next to the logo of German car maker Porsche in Stuttgart.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ferdinand Alexander Porsche dies at the age of 76, the company says
  • Porsche unveiled the first Porsche 911 in 1963
  • He also designed the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS

(CNN) -- Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, who designed and unveiled to the world the first Porsche 911, has died in Salzburg, Austria, a spokesman said. He was 76.

The death was announced Thursday by Matthias Muller, president of Porsche AG, who credited the late designer with establishing a "design that is a legacy."

Porsche gained worldwide recognition at the age of 27 when he unveiled the first Porsche 911 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963.

Recalling the design process, Porsche said: "Right from the start the specification was that the car had to be instantly recognizable as a Porsche from its silhouette."

The two-door luxury coupe initially was called the Porsche 901, until a patent issue with Peugeot forced a change in name.

In addition, Porsche also designed the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS, a Formula One racing car that has been praised for its sleek, forward design.

Porsche was born in Stuttgart, Germany, on December 11, 1935, to Dorothea and Ferry Porsche. He was named for his grandfather, Ferdinand Porsche, according to the company.

As the story goes, he spent much of his time in the engineering and development offices of his grandfather, who is credited with the original design of the Volkswagen Beetle in the 1930s.

F.A. Porsche, as he was referred to by his colleagues, joined the company at the age of 22 and soon developed one of the first clay models of the successor of the Porsche 356, the company's first production automobile, according to Muller.

In 1962, he took over as the head of the Porsche design studio and one year later unveiled what became the Porsche 911.

Porsche, who later served as president of the company, is credited with playing a major role in reshaping it in the 1990s and guiding it through an economic turnaround, according to Porsche AG.

Porsche will be buried in a private ceremony in Zell am See, Germany, the company said. An official service will be held in Stuttgart at a later date.

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