Porsche Design Celebrates 50 Years with 750 Targa 4 GTS Units

Half a century of engineering luxury.

Ferdinand Alexander “Butzi” Porsche, the grandson of his namesake Ferdinand, was the designer of arguably the most iconic sportscars of all time—the Porsche 911. This year, the brand that he founded, Porsche Design, celebrates its 50th anniversary. Porsche Design is a studio and luxury lifestyle brand founded by F.A. Porsche in 1972 and has evolved from a design studio to expand into a global luxury lifestyle retail brand. 

To mark the company’s golden jubilee, automaker Porsche AG is creating 750 units of the Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS in black, which was F.A. Porsche’s color of choice. Porsche Classic Division also restored a 1972 Porsche 911S 2.4 Targa that will be on display at the Porsche Museum until July this year, as a tribute to the year-long celebration. Porsche Design will be re-issuing the Chronograph 1 – 1972 Limited Edition with the original logo on the dial, which is limited to 500 examples and will also soon be available at Porsche Design Manila.

The fully restored 1972 Porsche 911 Targa will be on the 50Y Porsche Design exhibit until July

Photo by Porsche.

Who was F.A.”Butzi” Porsche ?

F.A. Porsche was born on December 11, 1935. He grew up in Zell am See, Austria and was there when World War 2 broke out. Because of his father and grandfather’s work and business, he immersed himself in automotive design at a time when the elder Porsche was working on the Porsche 356, the predecessor of the 911. After the war, his family returned to Stuttgart in 1950, forming the Porsche sports car company. As a designer, his interests in technology, new materials and a purist aesthetic—all the ingredients in making the best sports car the world has ever known—became more refined. 

The use of technology allowed him to design an efficient and yet unconventional powerplant—an air-cooled flat engine that sat on the rear, while his knowledge of materials allowed him to save weight, which was vital in a sports car. His sense of aesthetic made the 911 the most recognizable shape in the automotive world, which has not changed much in the last 70 years. Aside from the 911, he also created the Formula 1 bullet Porsche 804 and the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS, which is often considered one of the most beautiful race cars of all time.

F.A. Porsche penned the iconic 911 sports car

Photo by Porsche.
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By the early 1970s, the company became a joint stock company and was renamed Porsche AG, which eventually led him to choose his own path and relinquish his position as head designer to comply with corporate rules, thus the creation of his Porsche Design in Stuttgart. He’s been famously quoted for saying, “If you analyze the function of an object, its form often becomes obvious.” 

Watches and phones

In its early years, Porsche Design started off dabbling in timepieces and other accessories. The company started at first to work on commissioned projects like the watches for Porsche AG as a gift for its longstanding employees. The first serious timepiece to be introduced to the public was the Porsche Design Chronograph 1 that was introduced in 1972 and hit the market the following year. This was the first-ever timepiece to have an all-black PVD finish on the case and bracelet and a matching black dial and was inspired by the dashboard dials of the famous 911 sports car he himself designed as well. Porsche Design sunglasses also have a following; when the brand first created its now famous P’8478 Aviator Sunglasses with interchangeable lenses that became popular in  the ‘70s and ‘80s. Yoko Ono was just one of the famous celebrities to sport its eyewear on the cover of many magazines.

The Porsche Design Chronograph

Photo by Porsche.

Porsche Design went on to create a number of collectible timepieces with collaborations with IWC, including the famous Porsche Design Titanium Chronograph. In 1995, F.A. Porsche acquired Swiss watch brand Eterna which began to create timepieces under the Porsche Design label. Eterna was later sold to another company and, in 2014, Porsche Design founded Porsche Design Timepieces AG, headquartered in Switzerland, to finally create an all in-house watch production facility.

Other collaborations include Blackberry phones and, in recent years, with Huawei like the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 40 RS to create Porsche-themed luxury smartphones and smart watches. The company also came up with other electronic devices with automotive themes, like the 911 Soundbar, a wireless speaker system using a rear silencer made from the exhaust system of a real Porsche 911 GT3. These, plus other luxury products like leathergoods, luggage, footwear and apparel form part of its retail franchises in boutiques located throughout the globe.

The P8478 Aviator Sunglass was created in 1980

Photo by Porsche.

Yachts, planes, and buildings

Aside from retail luxury items, the studio also got involved in creating superyachts, a private jet plane and even a luxury condominium. One of its famous landmarks in Miami is the Porsche Design Tower, completed in 2017 with units selling between $4 million to $20 million. Units even come their own car elevator that can bring cars right up to your condo unit.

A Porsche Design  Embraer Phenom 300E business jet with a customized Porsche 911 Turbo S

Photo by Porsche.

Porsche Design GTT 115 Hybrid Superyacht

Photo by Porsche.

Since 2003, Porsche Design became a division and has been a part of Porsche AG. Ferdinand Alexander Porsche died at the age of 76 in 2012, the same year his studio brand celebrated its 40th anniversary but his legacy purity of design and products that maintains it relevance over a long time that you can pass on to the next generation lives on.


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