Karl Rabe

Date of birth :29 October 1895
Deceased : 28 October 1968

Biography Karl Rabe

Karl Rabe was born in October 29th 1895 in Pottendorf near Wiener Neustadt. In 1913 Rabe worked  with Ferdinand Porsche at Austro-Daimler. Rabe promoted to  design office manager in 1923 after Ferdinand Porsche moved to Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. Later the old professor moved to Steyr-Werke. Ferdinand Porsche encouraged Karl Rabe to join Steyr-Werke so in 1929 Karl Rabe joined forces with Ferdinand Porsche again. The careers of Karl Rabe and Ferdinand Porsche were linked from this point on. After Ferdinand Porsche founded his own design studio in 1931, Karl Rabe was given the position of chief designer.

“Father Rabe” as his engineers called him is said to have been very superstitious by nature, for example with the project numbering at Wanderer he chose the number 7 as he considered it lucky, then later leaving out number 13 as it was unlucky.  Karl Rabe filed many patents used in the Volkswagen and early Porsche cars. This includes the  differential gears, cylinder heads and several production methods.

In 1947 Ferdinand Porsche and Karl Rabe began designing an open two-seater sports car based on VW components which was to become the Porsche 356. After the war, letters surfaced that showed that Rabe had wanted to become a partner in the Porsche company, but this desire was never fulfilled.

Rabe remained the chief designer at the Porsche company until he retired at the end of 1965 and continued to work as a consultant to Porsche after this date until he died in 1968.