Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of the 911 sports-car maker, created the first hybrid more than 100 years ago and designed the original Volkswagen Beetle. Those achievements haven’t counted for much in his hometown.
That legacy will once again be tested as a new exhibition prepares to open in the Czech village of Vratislavice nad Nisou, where Porsche was raised and residents resisted municipal efforts to be associated with the auto pioneer. Under communism, Porsche sports cars were unwelcome symbols of capitalist excess. Then, the engineer’s connection to the Nazis made him controversial in the region annexed by Adolf Hitler’s regime.