Gear: 3 Porsche Books We Loved In February

3 Porsche Books We Loved In February

By Benjamin Shahrabani
March 1, 2017

No other marque seems to attract as much attention from writers, photographers, and enthusiasts as Porsche does. It seems hardly a day passes without some article, photograph, or announcement—or a month without a new book—however each one seems to present some new information or insight that no other book has covered.

Here are some of our favorites. Did we miss any? Please let us know in the comments!

Porsche 959

Author: Jurgen Lewandowski
Publisher: Delius Klasing
Format: Box Set, Hardcover, 418-pages

The Porsche 959 was as much a car as it was a statement. While the shape and interior were instantly recognizable from the 911 it was based on, just about everything else was different and pushed hard against the then current barriers of automotive performance and technology through use of composite and lightweight construction, adjustable suspension, an “intelligent” four-wheel-drive system, and a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged engine. Performance was and is still stunning. The 959 could hurtle from 0–60 mph in less than 4 seconds, the quarter-mile in just over 12, and could continue on to a terminal velocity of almost 200 mph. While less than 300 were produced, doubtless quite a few more showed up on bedroom walls worldwide.

Celebrating this iconic model is a limited-edition and numbered box set containing three separate books from publisher Delius Klasing. These contain contemporary photographs from photographer Stefan Bogner, as well as rare archival material from the Porsche vaults. “Picture Book” showcases the 959 from all phases of development, testing, and production. “Storybook,” written by Jurgen Lewandowski, is the story of the car; in 1985, Lewandowski was commissioned by Professor Helmuth Bott, the company’s technical director, to witness the development of the nascent 959. With first-hand interactions with the designers and engineers, the author is well-positioned to present the complete history of the model with focus and insight. Lastly, “Factbook” is a compilation of all the relevant facts, figures, and designs of this amazing car. As is the publisher’s custom, all text is written in both German and English. 

This is a beautifully assembled box set; if you’re into the 959, you surely can’t do better. The only thing it doesn’t include is a new poster for your wall. This set is available for preorder in the Petrolicious shop.

The Ultimate Book of the Air-cooled 911

Author: Brian Long
Publisher: Veloce
Format: Slipcover, Hardcover, 592-pages

While this title certainly won’t be the ultimate, as in the very last, book on its subject, Veloce’s new limited-edition book by Brian Long, The Ultimate Book of the Air-cooled 911, may certainly still be deserving of its title by other metrics.

First of all, this title is a beautifully assembled hardback—with a slipcase just to make it extra special—and comprises of 592-pages. Heavy? Of course it is, but that’s because it covers over 30-years of air-cooled 911 history, and every model produced for public consumption while occasionally digressing into concept cars and models intended for motorsport. Granted access to company personnel and its archives, Long—a mechanical engineer and a veteran author of 70 (!) other books—writes with great detail and attention, conveying both insight into the air-cooled era and outlining—when laid out chronologically as in this book—what must be considered the amazing development and evolution of the air-cooled 911 over three decades, from the relatively puny 130-horsepower in the first 911 of 1965, to the over 400-horsepower Turbos of the last air-cooled model, the 993, which ceased production in 1998. Backing the information-heavy prose is a massive 1,250 photographs and illustrations, reproductions of advertising material, and brochures depicting the models in all their splendor, plus an appendix section at the end with specifications for every model, all helping to fill in the storyline.

Without a doubt, this work must be considered a worthy purchase for any air-cooled Porsche owner or enthusiast’s bookshelf. No overnight read, you’ll be delving into this book for a long time, but you’ll love doing so. Better hurry up though; Veloce printed these in an extremely limited quantity, and they are only available from the publisher’s dedicated website,

Ferdinand Porsche – Genesis of Genius: Road, Racing and Aviation Innovation 1900 to 1933

Author: Karl Ludvigsen
Publisher: Bentley Publishers
Format: Hardcover, 496-pages

While Dr. Ferdinand Porsche is synonymous with the company he founded that today produces some of the world’s most sublime sports cars, far fewer will likely be familiar with his other, and quite significant, contributions to the development of the automobile, airplane engines, and military transport vehicles. In something of a prequel to his other books on the marque and the man (Porsche: Origin of the Species, Professor Porsche’s Wars, and Porsche: Excellence Was Expected) veteran author Karl Ludvigsen deftly examines Porsche’s productive early and middle careers in Ferdinand Porsche – Genesis of Genius: Road, Racing and Aviation Innovation 1900 to 1933.

Born in Maffersdorf, Austria in 1875, Ferdinand Porsche developed an early passion for electricity. Rising quickly through the the ranks of an engineering firm, he caught the attention of  the Lohner carriage-manufacturing company, which he soon decamped for. While working for the Viennese coach-building firm, Porsche would develop an electric motor and fuse the invention with Lohner’s carriages. The electric Lohner-Porsche would dazzle the press and public alike at the 1900 Paris Exposition. Shortly thereafter, Porsche expanded on the concept with the Lohner-Porsche Semper Vivus, the world’s first hybrid car that combined electrical wheel-hub motors with two combustion engines. Over the next decades, the multi-faceted engineer would find himself building cars and aero-engines for a varied array of customers including Austro-Daimler, as well as the provision aircraft engines and tractors for the army of the Austrian emperor during World War I, while later overseeing the design of the SS and SSK sports racers at Mercedes-Benz, and also dabbling in trucks, diesels, and tanks.

Ludvigsen lays out the kind of technical accomplishments that would lead Porsche to enjoy a strong reputation and that would have two dictators contending for his expertise. The 496-pages are often filled with political insights and war-time drama. Accompanying the text and helping to paint a very complete picture of this fruitful time period in Porsche’s professional life are copious amounts of black-and-white photographs, technical drawings, and other archival material including reproductions of Porsche’s original handwritten notes.

Ferdinand Porsche – Genesis of Genius is how an automotive history book should be, and is highly recommended for the enthusiast who wishes to learn more about Porsche, and the deep technical and engineering heritage of the company. As a bonus, our friends at Bentley Publishers have generously extended a discount good for $50 off the list price of $99.95 for this title, please apply promo code “PETRO-GENIUS” at checkout.

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