World's Oldest Porsche is Rediscovered

Feb 4, 2014

oldest Porsche Enlarge image The world's oldest Porsche is now on display at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. (© dpa)

One-hundred and sixteen years after its construction, the world's very first Porsche has been rediscovered in an old barn in Austria and will now be on display at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. Called the Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton model ("P1" for short), the three-horsepower all-electric car was built in 1898 by Ferdinand Porsche.

The vehicle was the first car ever built by Mr. Porsche, who was only 22 at the time. After its completition, he only built three other copies of the P1, and it wasn't until 1931 that the pioneer founded his own automobile company. The P1, which resembles a horse-drawn carriage, was parked in a barn in 1902 and has been untouched until its recent discovery, the automobile company wrote in a press release.

Unlike car models that became popular throughout the 1900s, the P1 used an electric motor. Mr. Porsche's main interest at the time was in the field of electricity, and he spent the first years of his career as an apprentice at the Vienna-based electrical engineering firm Bela Egger & Co.

"Electric cars of that era were quieter, easier to operate and needed no shifting of gears," Matt Anderson, curator of transportation at the Henry Ford Museum, told the Los Angeles Times. "It was an open question for several years from the start of the industry as to whether gas, steam or electric would win out."

The P1 had a range of about 80 km (50 miles) per charge and weighed just under 3,000 lbs. The popularity of gas-run automobiles began to rise in 1912, which gradually took all-electric vehicles off the market. But a century later, electric cars are back on the roads, and the world's very first Porsche will now be a part of the Porsche Museum's permanent exhibition.

By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany


1898 P1 Porsche

Wind Turbine

Wolfgang Porsche

Wolfgang Porsche

Wolfgang Porsche, chairman of the supervisory board of Porsche, stands next to the Porsche P1, which was developed in 1898 by the company's founder, Ferdinand Porsche. ©dpa