Porsche’s first car recovered after a century
The very first vehicle to be designed by Ferdinand Porsche, the automotive engineer and founder of the Porsche Car Company, has been recovered from a warehouse in Austria in its original, unrestored condition and recently put on display.
Untouched since 1902, the “Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton model”, known as the “P1” for short, was designed and built by Porsche in 1898 making it 116-years-old. Porsche engraved the code “P1”, which stands for Porsche number 1, onto all the key components giving the car its unofficial name.
The P1 looks more like a horse-drawn carriage than the sports cars for which Porsche is more renowned. It features wooden wheels and an electric motor allowing the car to reach a top speed of around 35 km/h. The speed is regulated by a 12-speed controller, allowing for three to five hours of driving time.
It made its first official appearance in Vienna on June 26, 1898, as the first car to be registered in Austria. It was put to the test at the international motor vehicle exhibition in Berlin, where Porsche participated in an all-electric vehicle race. More than half of the competitors failed to finish due to technical issues but Porsche went on to complete the race 18 minutes ahead of the next competitor.
This discovery couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. The P1 has been put on display to be viewed free of charge at the Porsche Museum as part of its fifth anniversary celebrations.
The company says the P1 will be the centrepiece that introduces visitors to the first part of the newly structured product and motorsport history exhibition. It will bridge the gap between the past and present-day developments such as the Porsche 918 Spyder. The plug-in hybrid 918 Spyder follows the long tradition to be a technological benchmark that first started 116 years ago with the P1.