Erwin Komenda

Date of Birth : April 6 1904
Deceased : August 22 1966

Biography Erwin Komenda

Erwin Komenda was born April 6 1904 in Jauern/Semmering (Austria).  Without any doubt Erwin Komenda inherited his technical talent from his father who  was the  technical conductor of the first electricity plant of the Semmering region and Weyer.   In 1913 the family moved to Weyer, a little village in Austria near Steyr. That’s where Erwin Komenda went to a technical college for a study of iron processing.

After his studies he worked as engineer in the Wiener Karosserie-Fabrik. In 1926, Erwin Komenda started working as body designer at the Steyr-Werke.  A few years later, in 1929  Ferdinand Porsche took the position of technical manager at the Steyr-Werke and that’s exactly where the paths of Komenda and Ferdinand Porsche first crossed.

Soon after Ferdinand Porsche joined Steyr-Werke, Erwin Komenda left the firm to join Daimler-Benz in Sindelfingen (Germany) as Chief Engineer for the test and development department. Erwin Komenda started working in 1931 for the freshly started Porsche Design Company.  He didn’t leave Porsche until his death in 1966. Erwin Komenda was the chief engineer and leader of the Porsche car-body construction department.

Auto Union and Cisitalia

Erwin Komenda developed the car-body construction of the VW Beetle, the most built car-body of the last century. Some of the famous designs by the hand of Komenda ar the Auto Union Grand Prix Car and the Cisitalia Grand Prix Car. For both these projects Komenda co-operated with his right hand Josef Mickl.

Porsche 356

In November 1946 Erwin Komenda  signed the ideas for the first Porsche sports car. He developed the Porsche 356 and variations including the 356 Porsche speedster. Next to that, Komenda was responsible for the design of the famous Porsche 550 Spyder.  Erwin Komenda played a substantial role  in the fabrication of the successor of the Porsche 356. The Porsche 901 that took the Zuffenhausen Company into a next generation, ultimately became the extreme successful Porsche 911.

One of his final projects was the development of the light-weight fibreglass car body of 904 sports racer. For this project Komenda co-operated very closely with Butzi Porsche. The car body was mounted to a box frame for a semi-monocoque structure. The Porsche 904 is considered to be one of the best car designs ever. The final years of Komenda’s life were marked by conflicts with members of the Porsche family within the company over the development of the Porsche 911. Komenda was an active worker up to his early death on Aug. 22nd, 1966 from lung cancer. His life’s work ended with the development of the great Porsche 911.