On 26 May 1950, the first 356 was handed over to a customer
An unprecedented success story started seven decades ago on 26 May 1950 when the first new Porsche car was collected from the factory in Zuffenhausen by its new owner. To this day, customers come as close as is practically possible to the brand’s roots when they pick up their new car. In the anniversary year, the first Taycan was also collected by a customer from the parent plant in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen.
The history of factory collection all began outside on a field in view of Plant 1. This is where Ottomar Domnick laid the foundation for this tradition when he collected his sports car on 26 May 1950: a Porsche 356 in Fish Silver with the commission number 5001. Being the first customer in Germany was a dream come true for this specialist in neurology and psychiatry. Ottomar Domnick was 43 years old when he collected his Porsche – incidentally the same age as Florian Böhme who was handed the first electric sports car in Zuffenhausen on 21 February. He collected his Taycan on the day of his 43th birthday.
Before the celebratory handover, Ottomar Domnick took the passenger seat in his Porsche 356 next to Herbert Linge, who had invited him to take a final test run. Herbert Linge started his training at Porsche KG in April 1943 and was one of the first mechanics to be employed after Porsche returned from Gmünd in Austria at the end of 1949. “I was 14 years old when I started work at the first Porsche training workshop. In those days, we were six mechanics and two technical draftsmen. Ferdinand Porsche often walked past our workshop with important guests in tow. He would always stop to say hello while keeping his guests briefly waiting. That’s something I’ll never forget,” says Herbert Linge, who clearly remembers every car collection at the factory. “When Ottomar Domnick collected his Porsche 356, he really celebrated the occasion. But he had been coming to the factory every day anyway to see how far on we were with the work. Even Ferry Porsche briefly dropped in when the doctor was presented with his sports car.”
Even today, factory collection at the Porsche headquarters is a particularly special experience for customers. “The most exciting aspect of this first encounter is that the customer has never actually seen the car before,” explains Tobias Donnevert, Head of Factory Collection and Sales Operations Personalisation. “The customer has configured the car of his choice in the Porsche Centre or together with the customer service of the Porsche Exclusive Manufacture department and has only seen the colour combinations on photos or tiles. So when he collects his personal Porsche, he is seeing it for the very first time. This is a very special moment, reserved exclusively for the customer at the beginning of the handover.”
At the plant in Zuffenhausen, Tobias Donnevert and his team welcome around 20 customers every day who come to collect their new cars. In 2019, there was a total of 2,500 customers and almost 3,000 in Leipzig. Before collecting their car, customers are also invited to take a tour of the factory and see, among other things, how the Porsche 911 is manufactured in Zuffenhausen. A visit to the Porsche Museum is also on the agenda. At Porsche in Leipzig, customers are given an insight into the production of the Macan and Panamera models. Customers can also take a test run in a similar Porsche on the plant’s own FIA race track.
The Domnick Foundation, which manages his estate, still has the original order form from Ottomar Domnick with the commission number 5001. The order was processed by the Volkswagen Hahn dealership as there was no sales distribution in Germany at that point. “Volkswagen” had been crossed out by hand and replaced with “Porsche-Sport” on the order form. To this day, Ottomar Domnick’s Porsche 356 represents the beginning of Porsche in Germany, and it also directly stands for the start of personal factory collections in Zuffenhausen.