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Ferdinand Porsche, designer of the 911 Sports Car, dies at age 76.

Porsche, who went on to found a consumer products design firm after creating the 911, died Thursday in Salzburg, Austria.

Porsche’s grandfather had designed the original Volkswagen Beetle in Germany in the 1930s  and his father went on to build the Porsche motor empire.

As a child, “Butzi” – as he was known to his family and business associates – enjoyed designing and building his own toys. He studied at the Ulm School of Design before joining the design department of Porsche.

The Porsche 911 was designed in 1963 and went on sale in 1964, as a rear engine vehicle that cost  US$5,500.00. The automaker debuted the seventh generation 911 late last year.  It now sells for about US$115,000.

Porsche headed the company’s design studio from 1962 to 1972.

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