By Bennett Oghifo
Seven decades ago on May 26, 1950, an unprecedented success story started, when the first Porsche vehicle was collected from the factory in Zuffenhausen by its new owner.
To this day, according to a statement by Porsche, customers choose to pick up their new car directly from the plant to get as close as possible to the brand’s roots. In the anniversary year, the factory collection programme includes the brand’s first electric sports car, the Taycan.
When Ottomar Domnick took ownership of his sports car on May 26, 1950 outside on a field in front of Plant 1, the history of the Porsche factory collection began. It was a Porsche 356 in Fish Silver with the commission number 5001. Being the first customer in Germany was a dream come true for the specialist in neurology and psychiatry. When he collected his Porsche, Domnick was 43 years old – incidentally the same age as Florian Boehme who received his first electric sports car in Zuffenhausen last February.
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 drive. Herbert Linge started his training at Porsche KG in April 1943 and was one of the first mechanics to be employed, after Porsche returned to the area of Stuttgart 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 waiting for a short time. 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 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.”
Until today, the factory collection at Porsche’s headquarters is a special experience for customers. “The most exciting aspect of this first encounter is that customers have never actually seen the car before,” explains Tobias Donnevert, Head of Factory Collection and Sales Operations Personalisation. “They configure their car of choice in the Porsche Centre or together with a consultant from the Porsche Exclusive Manufacture department and only see the colour combinations on photos or tiles. So when they collect their personalized Porsche, they are seeing it for the very first time. This is a very special moment 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, a total of 2,500 Porsche owners opted for a collection directly from the factory, in addition to almost 3,000 who visited Porsche’s second plant in Leipzig. Before collecting their car, customers are invited to take a tour of the factory and see, for example, how the Porsche 911 is manufactured in Zuffenhausen. A visit to the Porsche Museum is also part of the offered programme. At Porsche in Leipzig, customers are given an insight into the production of the Macan and Panamera models. They can also take a test run in a similar Porsche on the plant’s own FIA-certified race track.
The Domnick Foundation, which manages his estate today, 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 Porsche sales network in Germany back then. “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 sales in Germany, and it also directly stands for the start of personal factory collections in Zuffenhausen.