Car Designer - Porsche
The Porsche world lost one of its long time leading lights with the death of Helmuth Bott, the former head of Research and Development for the German sportscar manufacturer and the man most considered to be the 'spiritual' father of the 911. Bott, a metalwork teacher, joined the company in 1952 as a production assistant, and retired in 1988 as the R & D boss, a position from which he also directed all of Porsche's competition programmes.
After earning his engineering degree from Stuttgart University he was appointed to the experimental department in 1955.
In 1972 he succeeded Ferdinand Piech as R & D chief. As far as competition matters are concerned, Bott was the man who helped supervise the development of Porsche's 1960's 'plastic' racers, the 906, 907, 908, 910 and finally the 917, which took the company from class to overall wins. Later he became responsible for Porsche's 917 Can-Am turbo spyders. Bott was similarly the man who put Porsche in the Group C and Camel GT arenas with the 956/962 prototypes, as well as signing-off on the TAG turbo V6 which powered the McLaren team to a series of Formula One titles in the mid-'80s.
Bott remained both a modest man and an individualist, who, when asked what his favourite Porsche-designed vehicles was, replied: "The Leopard II NATO battle-tank" .
There have been others, and will continue to be others with Bott's talents, but, he was one man who has left his own very personal mark on Porsche.
(1875-1952)Son of a tinsmith, Porsche was the most versatile car engineer in history, working for Mercedes, Volkswagen, Auto Union and Cisitalia as well as designing the World War II Tiger tank. Despite creating the Beetle, one of the most famous cars in the world, his association with Hitler caused him to be imprisoned for two years by the Allies after the war.