Porsche Denies Accusations of Having Stolen its DNA from Legendary Designer Erwin Komenda

Porsche 356 Speedster with Erwin Komenda, Ferry Porsche, and Ferdinand Porsche (left to right) 1 photo
Photo: Porsche
The granddaughter of legendary Porsche designer Erwin Komenda is challenging the very DNA of the brand, accusing the company of plagiarism. Iris Steineck claims her grandfather was the actual father of the Porsche core values, from the styling of the 356 and the 911, to the design of the Volkswagen Beetle and even the Porsche crest.
The woman, who works as a medic in Vienna, has sent an open letter to board member Wolfgang Porsche, throwing serious accusations at the company and the Porsche family, as German publication Stuttgarter-Zeitung writes.

To be more precise, she claims Ferry Porsche was not the one who developed the mold for the original Porsche, the 356. She added that Ferry’s son, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, is not the one who designed the first 911 and that the credit should go to her grandfather.

Erwin Komenda’s granddaughter claims this is some sort of copyright infirngement. She demands the company to include her grandfather’s name in its PR actions. Fame is not her only claim though, as she also requests financial compensation for Komenda’s efforts, including a retroactive action for all the years in which she claims Porsche has refused to admit this.

The woman claims the designer has even been cut out of archive photos, referring to a picture taken back in 1948 that shows the original Porsche 356. The original picutre shows Ferry and Ferdinand Porsche together with Komeda, but Porsche has a version of the image where the designer has been cropped. Porsche afficionados know this car as the K45 286, thanks to its number plate - you can see the image above, with Erwin Komenda, Ferry Porsche, and Ferdinand Porsche being show from left to right.

Besides backing up her claims with patents and design blueprints, the woman goes one step further, talking about an illegal activity that saw important Porsche figures convince Komeda to change his will on his deathbed, explaining the result was different compared to what had been initially agreed with the designer’s wife - the man died in 1966 of lung cancer.

Porsche denies the accusations

Porsche denies the woman’s claims, explaining that Erwin Komenda was a key employee of the company between 1931 and 1966, having worked for the Porsche Design Offices and subsequently for Porsche KG.

The company explains the designer is mentioned in numerous Porsche publications, as well as being represented in the Porsche museum. The automaker says Komeda received due credit for the design contribution he has brought to the VW Beetle and the Porsche 356.

Nonetheless, Porsche explains that, when it came to the 911, the company decided to stray from Komeda’s ideas linked to the 356, switching to the competing proposal coming from the son of Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. The company says the Neunelfer had to display the Porsche family identity, but it was not in any way a continuation of the 356 and therefore Komeda plays no part in the story.

As for the copyright infringement, Porsche explains Komeda’s contract, which still exists in the company archive, clearly states that all of the designer’s work would be owned by the company.

The conflict has been going on for quite a while

Iris Steineck has been banned from entering the Porsche archive since 2001, with this also applying to Porsche’s development center in Weissach. The granddaughter of the iconic designer continues to sustain her cause.
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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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