First Porsche Found a Century After it Disappeared
This one just might be the barn find to end all barn finds and we here at E3 Spark Plugs are giddy about its rediscovery. Gone without a trace for 112 years, the first Porsche ever built recently was found in a warehouse in Austria, where it had remained untouched since 1902.
Dubbed the Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton, the car was designed and built by a then-23-year-old Ferdinand Porsche in 1898. This historic ride has “P1” engraved on the surface of all key components. It stands for “Porsche No. 1” and is proof positive that the car is legit – a smart move by young Ferdinand himself to assure he’d be credited for his work.
The P1 originally was created for Jacob Lohner, a car making company owned by Ludwig Lohner. Upon meeting Porsche, he was convinced that the days of the horse and buggy were over and asked Porsche to create an electric drive train. On June 26th, 1898, the P1 officially rolled out onto the streets of Vienna and the next year, Porsche drove the P1 to win the gold medal in a famed Berlin road race. The car crossed the finish line a full 18 minutes before the second car. Another win soon followed, with the P1 being named the efficiency king for the lowest energy consumption vehicle in urban traffic.
The four-seater is in surprisingly good condition with its octagon electric motor still in working order, though the batteries and seats are missing. Made primarily of wood with pneumatic tires, it boasts a complicated series of gear, six of which moved the car forward, two reversed and four facilitated the brakes. The body design allowed for the car to be styled as an open-air chassis or coupe, making it versatile for hot summer days and cold or rainy weather.