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Always Alive. The Dreams and Passion of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche.
Semper Vivius at the New York International Auto Show
April 20, 2011

A sure sign of spring in New York is not only the opening of daffodils and tulips in Central Park, but also the arrival of the New York International Auto Show at the Javits Convention Center in NYC which opened to the public April 22nd and ran through May 1st. For any true auto-centric person, this is the place to see all that is fresh, new and fashionable from the top car manufacturers.

System Lohner-Porsche Semper Vivius center stage at the New York International Auto Show 2011.

While many manufactures were showcasing the newest in gas-electric and hybrid cars, Porsche showcased a true masterpiece of technology designed and created over 111 years ago by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, the “Semper Vivius.” First unveiled in 1898, the System Lohner-Porsche, named the Semper Vivius, translated Always Alive, was a magnificently build motor coach driven by two electric motors fitted within the front wheel hubs and powered by batteries. Nothing like it had been seen before. Later in 1900, a four-wheel drive version, “The Mixte,” was displayed at the Paris Universal Exposition. Over 300 Semper Vivius units were sold through 1906.

In 2007, Porsche Engineering began an extensive project to bring the System Lohner-Porsche back to life, with the assistance of renowned Master Coach Builders, Karosseriebau Drescher, based in Hinterzarten, Germany. Exhaustive research was necessary to locate any remaining blue prints, sketches and photographs that would aid them in this special endeavor to honor the dream and engineering genius of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche. Three years later a fully functioning Semper Vivius motor coach was displayed for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show in the spring of 2011, and for the first time in the U.S. at the New York International Auto Show for one day only. This is not just a “replica” of something that was alive in the past; it is a fully functioning electric coach matched in every detail possible to what Dr. Porsche designed 111 years ago

From here, the Sempre Vivius goes back to Stuttgart and will be on display at the Porsche Museum during the month of May with live driving demonstrations and presentations by those involved in this amazing tribute to Ferdinand Porsche – Pioneer of the Hybrid Drive.

The Mixte. Four-wheel electric drive Lohner-Porsche presented at Paris Universal Exposition 1900 - Porsche Archives

1903 Lohner-Porsche Hybrid Touring Car - Porsche Archives

Porsche Factory Driver, Patrick Long, along with the Porsche Hybrid GT3R bearing the names of 100,000 Porsche Fans on Facebook.

Electric motors fitted within the front wheel hubs

This first appeared in the Northern New Jersey Region PCA monthly journal, Porscheforus. Written and photographed by Jackie Buys. Photos from Porsche Archives used with permission.

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