Recreating one of the most iconic car photos of all time: the Porsche Jump

Re-enacting a legendary snapshot from Porsche’s distant past

4w ago

It is a photo familiar to millions of Porsche fans, taken in 1960 at the Flexen Pass near the Austrian village of Zürs. A skier soars high over a 356 parked between two steep banks of snow, the image perfectly encapsulating the spirit of adventure and joie de vivre that marked the start of the decade.

The skier in question was is the Austrian Egon Zimmermann, future winner of the giant slalom at the 1962 World Championships and downhill gold medallist in the 1964 Winter Olympics. The man behind the camera was professional photographer Hans Truöl, for whom this picture would provide lifelong international recognition. For Porsche, a little over a decade old and with its roots firmly in the Austrian Alps, Truöl’s photo, entitled ‘On taking a shortcut’, somehow also distilled the very essence of the burgeoning brand.

Fast forward to the tail end of the 2021 ski season and several metres of snow still lie on the Timmelsjoch, a pass at the border between Austria and Italy. Aksel Lund Svindal, one of the most successful skiers of the modern era with two Olympic gold medals and five world championships to his name, prepares for his first run. Conditions are ideal, with blue skies, sunshine and little wind. Svindal sets off gently, focussed on a ramp of compacted snow a good 100 m away. “The last ten metres are the most important – you can’t make any mistakes,” says the 38-year-old. “And of course you’ve got to pick the right tenth of a second for the jump itself. I only have a vague idea of what’s going on down there beneath my skis.”

Below him, world-renowned Porsche photographer Stefan Bogner is poised, stock still. At just the right distance in front of him, a Porsche stands perpendicular to the road between two towering walls of snow, just like the original scene created by Zimmermann and Truöl. This time, however, it’s not a 356 but a Taycan Turbo, and when Svindal sails over it, Bogner releases 12 shots a second, capturing every phase of the flight.

Aksel Lund Svindal

Aksel Lund Svindal

The pair eagerly examine the results but Bogneris unhappy with the light. Svindal is not satisfied either. “I want more speed and the posture is not quite right,” says the Norwegian. “My legs should be higher and my hands further back.”

Every detail has to be just so if the iconic Sixties image is to be successfully reimagined here at the Timmelsjoch. “For us this new interpretation symbolizes the bridge between the past, present, and future,” explains Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, who has travelled to Austria to join the shoot. “Tradition is very important for our brand, yet we’re also moving full speed ahead in developing innovations for the future. This symbiosis lies at the heart of the Porsche brand.”

The Taycan is an ideal example of what this blend of origins and future can look like. The car is unprecedented in the marque’s history, yet immediately recognizable as a Porsche. Brand ambassador Svindal says he is “proud to be part of the Porsche heritage,” adding that it’s “a real honour to be involved in writing the next chapter.” Svindal feels an affinity for Egon Zimmermann too, both athletes having won Olympic gold in the men’s downhill some fifty-four years apart.

Lutz Meschke, left, with Aksel Lund Svindal

Lutz Meschke, left, with Aksel Lund Svindal

As fate would have it, Bogner also has a personal connection to this legendary shot. “There’s a full-circle quality to the story for me too,” he explains. “Hans Truöl took photos of my uncle and grandfather.” Willy Bogner Senior and Willy Bogner Junior are among the most familiar names in German skiing to this day.

The team make several more attempts. Each time, the sun isn’t quite in the right position, clouds are obscuring parts of the sky, or snowflakes start twinkling against the scenery. Svindal makes tiny adjustments to his take off, his posture in the air, the position of his skis or the landing. “You should never rest and never be totally satisfied,” he insists. “You should always keep trying to improve, whether in racing or in skiing. This is a mindset I share with Porsche.”

Finally the sky clears, Bogner raises his arm in the air, and everyone takes their positions. Svindal tears down the hill again and jumps high into the clear mountain air once more. This time it’s a wrap, the picture a perfect reinterpretation of one of Porsche’s defining early images. “We’ve made history today,” says Meschke. “Never resting on laurels but always being ready to take another jump, always pushing the limits even further—that’s what we’re about.”

Taycan Turbo: CO₂ emissions combined (WLTP): 0 g/km; electric power consumption* combined (WLTP) 26.6 – 22.9 kWh/100 km; electric range combined (WLTP) 383 – 452 km; electric range in town (WLTP) 432 – 498 km

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