An automobile connoisseur’s dream came true when an 1898 Egger-Lohner electric vehicle was discovered untouched in an old locked-up warehouse for the last 111 years. The vehicle was the first engineered and developed by Ferdinand Porsche, who would start his namesake company in 1948. While nothing like this will likely ever pass into a foreign auto repair shop in Conway, AR, you can learn about this first creation of an iconic sports car engineer here.
How it started
Ferdinand Porsche would prove to be a prominent name in high-performance sports cars. However, his first engineering interest was in electricity. He traveled to Vienna in 1893 to learn the new field of electrical engineering as an apprentice. Porsche was a talented man who produced excellent work and he continued to expand his knowledge by attending frequent lectures. He moved through the ranks of Bela Egger & Co. working primarily in their testing department. Later, through a professional acquaintance, he met the carriage manufacturer Ludwig Lohner, and the dream of a horseless vehicle began.
Building and racing the Egger-Lohner
In the 1890s, there were disputes on whether electric or petrol engines would reign superior. Due to his background, Porsche began his car obsession with electric engines and created a rear-mounted electric drive. Mounting it on the back of a Lohner carriage, it could produce 3 HP at 350 RPM. Adding an overdrive mode, the engine’s horsepower increased to five and the vehicle had a top speed of 21 mph.
However, it was not the only electric car in existence, and with many parties claiming to have the best vehicle, there was only one way to make a final determination. It was proposed that the automakers get together in September 1899 for a race. The object was to complete 24 miles with three passengers on board.
Now with the name “P1” for “Porsche 1,” the vehicle entered the race as skeptics watched. It not only finished the race, which had half of the participants drop out due to mechanical issues, but it finished 18 minutes ahead of the second-place racer.
Further development by Porsche
With his P1 considered a success, Porsche continued to create electric vehicles. In 1900 he invented an electric wheel-hub motor and featured his creation at the Paris Exposition Universelle. After a successful showcase, he was 97 years ahead of the Toyota Prius in creating a hybrid petrol-electric motor that same year. Called the Lohner-Porsche Mixte, it entered production in 1902.
During that fateful year that set Porsche on a path to automotive immortality, he decided his humble P1 no longer met his standards. He locked it in a warehouse in 1902 where it sat forgotten for over a century.
The P1 now sits on display at the Porsche Museum where it is the first exhibit on a timeline presentation. Its discovery changed the museum layout as Porsche added more exhibits and an animated film to further present its founder’s role in developing electric engines.
Riverdale Automotive cannot guarantee your Porsche will last in storage for 111 years, but we can offer quality service from a knowledgeable foreign auto repair shop in Conway, AR. Give us a call for repairs or performance tune-ups today so you can enjoy your vehicle for years to come.