Dr. Porsche, where does your passion for Christophorus come from?
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche: I feel personally connected to Christophorus. As long as I can remember, it has been there. And I am still always curious to see what each new issue will bring forth. Studying it has become a rather cherished routine for me. The magazine is a constant for Porsche—and for Wolfgang Porsche (laughs). The magazine’s title, of course, refers to the patron saint of travelers. And in a certain respect, he is really the patron saint of the brand as well.
How important is the magazine to the image of the company?
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche: We like to talk about the Porsche family, and that encompasses friends of the brand, customers, and partners all around the world just as much as our employees. One might say that Christophorus is the medium of this global family—all the people who share the passion. With its almost seventy-year history, it’s one of the oldest company magazines in the world and an extraordinary chronicle.
What do you see as the mission of Christophorus?
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche: The most important thing is enthusiasm for the brand. Each one of our products is steeped in it, and the magazine carries that out into the greater Porsche community.
Has its significance changed in relation to the early years?
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche: Today we communicate through many channels and take advantage of the diverse possibilities of new media. And that’s a wonderful thing. But for me, Christophorus remains the central voice of the brand in this concert. Not least because it continues to write the story of our company with each new issue—for the 400th time now.
“Christophorus is the central voice of the brand.” Dr. Wolfgang Porsche
Continuity is among the defining characteristics of Porsche—does Christophorus play a role in that brand core?
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche: For me, the extraordinary thing has always been that Porsche embodies two things at once: continuity and innovation. Think of the brand icon, the 911. It’s been built for nearly sixty years now and with each new generation it sets the benchmark for technological development. Or the Taycan, with which we ushered in the era of electromobility—a technology that had already captivated my grandfather over 120 years ago. Christophorus is also a part of this grand tradition: in spite of all the changes, it remains true to itself.
Print magazines can convey enduring values, much like a Porsche. Is there a sort of special Christophorus feeling when you pick up a new issue?
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche: What a lovely question for you to ask! There is indeed exactly such a feeling. When I look at the title pages of the latest issues, they exude such an exquisite quality. You can feel the texture when you run your hand over it. Print is premium. It appeals to all of your senses. And that’s why Christophorus always has to be of the highest quality—both in terms of content and production. It’s a magazine to hold in your hands, to peruse, and that you can hold onto over time. Those are real experiences that should not be underestimated in the digital age. As we all spend more and more time in front of the screen, such moments and impressions take on a very special quality. Christophorus is a special magazine that we are constantly refining, like the brand itself.
Are there topics in Christophorus that interest you particularly?
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche: What interests me is not really the primary concern. I try to look at this question from the perspective of our readers. It is certainly important that we can offer them deep glimpses into the company that no one else can do, for instance about our development center in Weissach. Beyond that, pieces about the Porsche family that I talked about play an important role, articles about people within and outside of the company. Anyone from engineers to every customer, successful businesspeople, artists, or actors. Our internationalism is also an important factor. After all, Porsche fans are found on every continent.
You are one of the very few people who have a complete set of all 400 issues that have been published. How did this passion for collecting them begin for you?
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche: It was a happy coincidence. The owner of the Bechtle printing company in Esslingen, which used to print Christophorus for us, called me up one day. She asked if I would be interested in two crates of issues that she had in her basement. She herself had no particular use for them, but thought she could do me a good turn with them. And that was true, because this surprising gesture was the impetus for me to start building my own Christophorus collection. The two crates turned out to contain the early years, albeit not every issue. Three of the first ten issues were missing, for example.
Was it difficult to track down missing issues?
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche: More than anything, it took some perseverance. But I didn’t want to give up until I had assembled the complete set of all issues. My ambition had been piqued, and it’s quite remarkable what one can find on the online platforms nowadays. Little by little, I was able to plug all the gaps. The most expensive issue, by the way, was number one, which is to be expected. It is particularly prized by collectors.
Where and how do you keep your collection?
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche: I have had the issues bound by year. It’s the best way of ensuring that an issue never gets lost. So it’s just under seventy volumes that are on display in my private museum at my residence in Zell am See. It’s located in a former cow barn. I set up my Porsche room in what used to be the milking parlor. I keep other mementos there in addition to the Christophorus collection. There is one blemish in the collection, however, which is that the magazine format has been changed several times. That spoils the uniformity for me somewhat.
While perusing the old issues, do you rediscover interesting stories anew, or do they perhaps awaken old memories?
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche: Yes, at the latest when I add a new year’s volume to the collection, I take the time to revisit the old issues as well. And oftentimes the stories are associated with personal memories of particular events, places, or encounters. There’s so much that happens over the space of nearly seven decades.
“Oftentimes the stories in Christophorus are associated with personal memories.” Dr. Wolfgang Porsche
We found some photos from the early years of the magazine in which you are pictured. What memories do you associate with them?
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche: I remember two of these photos as if they were taken yesterday. I particularly remember the picture of us four brothers in the Porsche 550 Spyder because my brother Gerd, behind me on the left in the picture, squeezed up so tightly behind me that I almost couldn’t breathe. But at least we got this lovely photo out of it. The 550 Spyder is a beautiful car in any event.
And I also remember very well the ceremony marking the 10,000th Porsche in the spring of 1956. You can see me in the back between my grandmother and my father. He had asked me the night before if I wanted to drive the car off the line. It was a big honor, but as a result I was too excited to sleep a wink the night before. I was nervous that I wouldn’t find first gear or that I wouldn’t be able to see enough behind the wheel. But fortunately everything turned out well. I already knew how to drive because I’d been practicing at home. But my father knew that, of course.
Lovely memories. What are your hopes for Christophorus in the future?
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche: I wish the magazine a successful future from the bottom of my heart. As the exclusive magazine of our company for the friends of the brand and all customers worldwide. We are grateful for their loyalty over the past decades and we look forward to many more (laughs). At the same time, it’s always important to me that we don’t lose our authenticity. And I’m quite optimistic in that regard: we’re absolutely on the right track.
Text first published in the Porsche magazine Christophorus, No. 400.
Author: Thomas Ammann
Photographer: Robert Brembeck, Christoph Bauer