Porsche Cars North America Inc. celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. Its history goes back to 1950. America was at the beginning of the Korean War with soldiers fighting from the U.S. and aboard. Also, the movement of McCarthyism swept the nation. The momentum to root out communist labeled actions in the U.S. government was in full swing. Meanwhile, two brilliant visionaries created an automotive partnership between two warring factions. It became an enduring and fruitful partnership having historical and long-lasting implications.
Ferdinand Porsche, Max Hoffman Partnership
German automaker Ferdinand Porsche and New York importer Max Hoffman, who were on opposite sides of World War II, shook hands agreeing to sell his sports cars in the U.S. The first Porsche got its certification for road use in German on June 8, 1948. It began with Max Hoffman. Hoffman, an Austin attorney-turned-car dealer, who escaped to Paris in the 1930s. This occurred while German influence was spreading across Europe. Because of rising political tensions on the rise, Hoffman left everything behind and moved to New York. He opened his own import auto dealership within six years. As a result, The dealership, “Hoffman Motor Car Company” opened on Park Avenue.
Originally, Hoffman and Porsche’s initial relationship began between their historic 1950 meeting. Hoffman was working as a lawyer in Vienna. A journalist named Max Troesch helped to solidify their relationship. Troesch drove a Porsche 356 and make the prophetic prediction: “this car will make a name for itself.” Troesch went to America. Later, he met with Hoffman showing him photos of the 356 and Hoffman was onboard. However, Ferdinand Porsche wanted to sell five cars in a year in America.
Hoffman said: “if I can’t sell five a week, I’m not interested.” Both men agreed to an import-contract of 15 cars per week. Hoffman gave warm regards to his new friend’s “blend of durability, track-bred agility, and everyday usability.”
Eventually, The Porsche brand was introduced to America by Hoffman without advertising money from the company. In the marketing materials, the 356 as “a new conception in handling, road holding, suspension, and safety never known before.”