Porsche Celebrates 60 Years in North America
With a new sedan, an upcoming hybrid and one of the most beautiful concept vehicles in recent history, it seems that Porsche has plenty to celebrate lately, but it won't be passing on an opportunity to celebrate a major milestone. Since the first Porsche cars were sold in the United States in the fall of 1950, the company has since become renowned for its styling, performance and luxury over the last 60 years all thanks to the collective efforts of three men. Dr. Ferdinand 'Ferry' Porsche (son of the company's founder), Max Hoffman and Jonny von Neumann all formed the foundation for a successful Porsche brand in North America starting with the sporty and iconic Porsche 356.
Ferry Porsche had extremely low expectations for Porsche sales in the U.S. hoping for just five sales in the first year, but Hoffman, already a seasoned European car importer, had bigger plans in store. Even though the 356 only produced 44 horsepower from its 1.1-liter flat-four engine and cost as much as a luxurious Cadillac convertible, Porsche says that Hoffman went on to sell 32 356s in 1951 and a total of 11 per week by 1954. Hoffman later helped design the iconic black, gold and red Porsche crest that prominently displays a prancing horse.
Although the first Porsches were sold in New York, California quickly became, and still remains, one of the more popular areas for Porsche sales thanks in large part to von Neumann. Like Hoffman, von Neumann was an instant fan of Porsche and began selling them in California. One of von Neumann's more famous customers was James Dean who bought a 356 Speedster and later traded it for a 550 Spyder - the same car he was tragically killed in. The Porsche 550 Spyder is shown above in black and white next to the image of the all-new 2010 Porsche Boxster Spyder.
Growing from the single-model line that it originally offered, Porsche has since grown to its current lineup of five vehicles that include the Porsche 911, Porsche Boxster, Porsche Cayenne, Porsche Cayman and Porsche Panamera. Surprisingly, Porsche made no announcement of any special edition models to commemorate its first 60 years in the U.S., but it is expanding its lineup this year with the addition of a V-6 Panamera and the Cayenne S Hybrid.