Porsche Excellence was Expected : a set of 4 books now

In 1977, Karl Ludvigsen published the first edition of “Excellence was expected”. Back then, the book counted approximately 850 pages. Several reprints showed the succes of the book. Over 25 years went by before the publisher ordered a new edition. It took Ludvigsen a few years to complete the 2nd edition in 2003.  The author never stopped researching the history of Porsche. Just a few years later, in 2008, the 3rd edition of Ludvigsen’s “Excellence was expected” saw the daylight. The original edition was a single book, the 3rd edition consisted of 3 volumes, each counting approximately 500 pages. 

In 2019, over a decade later, Karl Ludvigsen believed the time had come to publish another completely reworked edition of “Excellence was expected”. Now four volumes, 2,834 pages and with nearly 3,000 photos and illustrations, every page of this all new “Excellence was Expected” has been revised and redesigned. Karl Ludvigsen had full access to the Porsche Archives. He went through newly available documents, and interviewed Porsche family members, managers and engineers to unearth the complete history of Porsche. 

Book 1 : Surpassing Expectations (1948 – 1971)

Excellence was expected : Book 1 (Surpassing expectations 1948 - 1971)
Excellence was expected : Book 1 (Surpassing expectations 1948 – 1971)

The first chapters in volume 1 covers the begining of Porsche, the genesis in Gmünd, where the first car bearing the name Porsche was built. From Gmünd, Porsche relocated to Stuttgart, after the family made the crucial decision to build cars in Stuttgart, instead of focusing on the engineering skills that Porsche was known for. After all, the Porsche sportscars built in Gmünd had not been a roaring succes so far. History proves that this was the only right decision. It meant the start of an unrivaled succes-story. 

The highlights in book 1 : Design for others / Porsche becomes an automaker / The Porsche 356 on the road / The 4-cam Porsches / Porsche in Formula 1 / “Big Porsche” plans ababdonned / The birth of the Porsche 911 / Contesting the big races / Porsche model timeline.
The production Porsches covered in book 1 : Porsche 356 / American Roadster / 356 Speedster / 356A / 356 B / 356 C / 911 / 912 / 911S
The competition Porsches covered in book 1 : 550 / 550A / 718 / 804 / Elva-Porsche / 904 / 906 / 907 /911R  / 910 /908 /909 /917K

 Book 2 : Hitting the Apex (1967 – 1989)

Excellence was expected : Book 2 (Hitting the Apex 1967 - 1989)
Excellence was expected : Book 2 (Hitting the Apex 1967 – 1989)

Next to fulfill the major goal of winning the Le Mans 24H in 1970, the 70s and 80s were very important years for Porsche. Years of huge innovation emerged for the factory. A collaboration with Volkswagen led to the birth of the mid-engined Porsche 914. At the end of the 70s, cars with front-mounted and water-cooled engines like the Porsche 924 saw the daylight. The author describes in detail all the models and the activities of the company in an era that can be described, to say the least, as very dynamic.

The highlights in book 2 : The mid-engined Porsche 914 / The Porsche 917 and victory at LeMans /  Returns of the Carrera / Turbo 911s / The front-engined Porsches / a V8 Porsche / Group C racing / Porsche model timeline
The production Porsches covered in book 2 : Porsche 914 and 914-6 / 911 / 911 Turbo Carrera / 912E / 930 Turbo / 924 / 928 / 911SC
The competition Porsches covered in book 2 : 917 / Carrera RSR / IROC Carrera / 934 / 935 / 924 Carrera / 953 / 956 /962

Book 3 : Comeback (1983 – 2008)

Excellence was expected Volume 3 (Comeback 1982 – 2008)

Porsche witnessed significant swings in its fortunes during the final two decades of the 20th Century. In Book 3 of Porsche: Excellence Was Expected author Karl Ludvigsen brings his industry experience and insider knowledge to bear in describing Porsche’s pitfalls and its pivotal comeback. The Porsche 944 became the successor of the Porsche 924. Porsche traveled unpaved roads with the introduction of the first water-cooled Porsche 911, and the Cayenne SUV.  In 1985, the company explored the regulations of FIA Group B. This finally resulted in the 4-wheel drive Porsche 959, the first Porsche supercar ever.  In motorsport, Porsche supplied engines designed by Hans Mezger for Formula 1.

The highlights in book 3 : 944 proves a winner / Porsche’s 959 supercar /Formula I engine supplier / Last of the air-cooled 911s (993)/ Boxster success (986) / A new 911 (996) / Cayenne SUV /Carrera GT
/ Porsche model timeline
The production Porsches covered in book 3 : 959 / 928 / 944 / 968 / 911 (964)/ 911 (993) / Boxster (986) / 911 (996)/ Cayenne (E1)/ Carrera GT
The competition Porsches covered in book 3 :959 / 961 /McLaren-TAG F1 /Footwork-Arrows FA12 / 2708 Indycar / 911 Turbo 2 / 911 GT2 / 911S LM GT / Carrera RS 3.8 / WSC95 /911 GT1 /911 GT3 Cup /911 GT3 RS

Book 4 : 21st century (2002 – 2020)

Excellence was expected - Volume 4 (21 century 2002 - 2020)
Excellence was expected – Volume 4 (21 century 2002 – 2020)

In 2008, the financial crisis almost caused the bankruptcy of Porsche. Fortunately, the Volkswagen Group reached out a helping hand and ensured the survival of what had been the most profitable car maker. After that, Porsche introduced one succesful car after another. The 4-seater Panamera,  the Porsche 918 hypercar and recently the all-electric Porsche Taycan are the most striking exemples.  On the motorsport side, Porsche returned to Le Mans in 2014. It scored a hattrick with 3 consective victories in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The highlights in book 4 : RS Spyders compete in LMP2 / mid-engine Cayman /997 / 991 /992  / Panamera / Boxster & Cayman upsate (987) / Cayenne (E22) /  918 Spyder / Macan / 919 E-hybrid domination / Taycan / Porsche model timeline
The production Porsches covered in book 4 : Boxster (987) / Boxster (981) / Cayman (987) / Cayman (981) / Cayenne E2 & E22 / Cayenne E-Hybrid / Panamera (970 & 971) / Macan / 911 (997, 991, 992) / 918 Spyder / Taycan
The competition Porsches covered in book 4 : RS Spyder / 911 GT2 / 911 GT2 RS / 911 GT3 / 911 GTS RS 4.0 /911 GT3 RSR /911 GT3 Cup /911 GT3 R Hybrid /Cayman GT4 /918 RSR /919 Hybrid

New for the 4th edition of “Excellence was Expected”

  • All 3 volumes from the previous version are completely revised and redesigned
  • Updated through model year 2020
  • New 4th volume (up from 3 volumes)
  • 132 chapters (up from 66 chapters)
    • 12 new chapters covering 911 (Types 991 and 992), 918 Spyder, 919 Hybrid, Taycan and Porsche company evolution
    • 10 new chapters with updated coverage of Boxster, Cayman, Cayenne, Macan, and Panamera
    • 32 new Focus chapters highlighting fascinating people and rare Porsche cars through the decades
  • Over 1,000 additional pages
  • Hundreds of new color photos and illustrations.
  • New chapters covering the new models of the Porsche 911 (Types 991 and 992), Porsche 918 Spyder, Porshe919 Hybrid, Taycan
  • Chapters with new insight and history of the Porsche company
  • New chapters with updated coverage of Boxster, Cayman, Cayenne, Macan, and Panamera
  • 32 new Focus chapters highlighting fascinating people and rare Porsche cars through the decades
  • All new Porsche model timelines featuring exclusive color illustrations of key Porsche models from 1948-2020
  • Updated Competition Victories appendix

Conclusion review “Excellence was expected”

book review porsche excellence was expected karl ludvigsen
Porsche : Excellence was expected is now a set of 4 books

The only way to describe “Excellence was expected” is with superlatives. Just as the previous editions, this edition is truly a masterpiece. Karl Ludvigsen knows how to put complicated technical stories on paper to make it a smooth read. He unearths stories that shed a new light on the history of Porsche. No other book covers the complete breadth of the Porsche marque’s history. The 4 volume set brings you a whopping total of 2834 pages of reading pleasure. Close to 3,000 photos, diagrams, and illustrations clarify the words. Karl Ludvigsens “Excellence was expected” brings exactly what Porsche has been bringing us since 1948. That is Excellence, nothing but excellence. Make sure to free some space on your bookshelves.  This is probably the best money spent in years. 

Pictures courtesy Bentley Publishers

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Porsche-Excellence Was Expected Book Cover Porsche-Excellence Was Expected
Karl E. Ludvigsen
Cars
Bentley Publishers
September 3, 2019
4 volumes, 2834 pages and with nearly 3000 photos and illustrations
978-0-8376-1769-5
English