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Fri, Feb 14th - 4:45AM


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First Porsche Resurfaces After 112 Years


The recently rediscovered "first Porsche in the world" may resemble an old horse-drawn carriage but was a technological marvel for its time. It included a compact electric drive weighing 286 pounds and could chug along at 22 mph. The car was found in an Austrian warehouse where it had apparently been left untouched since 1902.

As for the car's history, according to Porsche:

"The owner of 'K.K. Hofwagenfabrik Jacob Lohner & Comp.' had a wide range of interests, and in the face of declining sales of his luxurious carriages had come to the logical conclusion that the age of the horse and carriage was coming to an end. ... He came to the decision that he needed to start manufacturing petrol and electric vehicles. ...

"The result of Ferdinand Porsche's vision, the 'Egger-Lohner C.2 electric vehicle,' rolled onto the streets of Vienna for the first time on June 26, 1898, and Ferdinand Porsche made sure that he would take credit for the vehicle's design in a most unusual manner: He engraved the code 'P1' (P for Porsche, number 1) onto all of the key components, thus giving the vehicle its unofficial name."

The car's first serious test came in a race for electric cars in September 1899. The contestants had to complete 24 miles with three passengers on board. Ferdinand Porsche piloted the P1 across the finish line 18 minutes ahead of the second-place racer, the car company's history shows. Perhaps more important, P1 was among fewer than half the racers able to finish. The others dropped out because of technical problems.

The P1 was discovered last year in a warehouse at an undisclosed location in Austria. It was then bought by one of Ferdinand Porsche's living relatives for the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany where it's now on display.


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