REUTTER AND THE PORSCHE 911: A STORMBIRD, A MISPLACED ZERO AND THE LAUNCH OF RECARO

Karosseriewerk Reutter in Stuttgart
The first Porsche 901 during a photo shoot in 1963: with (front to back) Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche and Ferdinand Piëch (in white shirt), along with Reutter car body specialists in the middle group, including Theodor Bauer, Gottlob Sturm and Walter Beierbach. (© Porsche archives)

A family resemblance across generations: the Porsche 754 (T7), presented during a special exhibition at the Automuseum Prototyp in Hamburg, was developed during the transitional phase from the Porsche 356 to the Porsche 911. (© Photographers-Hamburg)

A family resemblance across generations: the Porsche 754 (T7), presented during a special exhibition at the Automuseum Prototyp in Hamburg, was developed during the transitional phase from the Porsche 356 to the Porsche 911.
(© Photographers-Hamburg)

A short note from Ferry Porsche outlined the idea for one of the most famous sports car icons of all time: “Two-seater with comfortable jump seats. Improved entry.” On the sales side, the planned successor to the Porsche 356 would “maintain the previous Porsche lines. Not a fundamentally new car. Sporty character.” Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter (the predecessor of RECARO) participated in the design engineering of the car body and built the first prototypes of the Porsche 901. In the fourth part of this look back at the sports car history shared by RECARO and Porsche, we examine the “Sturmvogel” (“Stormbird”) project, a French veto, endings and beginnings – and a partnership that endures into the present day.

After the triumph of the Porsche 356, it was time for a worthy successor to take over from this iconic bestseller. After the early ideas developed under the name Type 754 (T7), the team led by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche then turned to the so-called T8 design. In November 1961, Reutter received a development contract for the design engineering of a Porsche car body in coupe and cabriolet versions, bound by a strict nondisclosure agreement. A joint team of Reutter and Porsche engineers then went to work, with the first T8 prototypes emerging in 1962 at Reutter. That same year, the model was renamed Type 901, and in November 1962, the “Sturmvogel” (“Stormbird”) was ready for its first official test drive. Its name was derived from its snow-white paintwork. The prototypes were all built at Reutter’s special design department, headed by master craftsman Gottlob Sturm. But the T8 would not stop at concept cars, since the decision to pursue serial production was already settled. The car body’s design engineering was placed under the responsibility of Reutter.

Sporty seats in a sporty car: the new sports car was known as the Porsche 901 until October 1964, before officially becoming the 911 in November 1964. (© Porsche archives)

Sporty seats in a sporty car: the new sports car was known as the Porsche 901 until October 1964, before officially becoming the 911 in November 1964.
(© Porsche archives)

Although not yet ready for serial production, the Porsche 901 marked its world debut at the 41st Frankfurt Auto Show in 1963. The French company Peugeot later informed Porsche that it had registered naming rights to any three-digit model number with a zero in the middle. That’s why the 901 was later renamed to 911.

At the same time, the shareholders of Reutter decided to sell the car body plant to Porsche. The sale was completed on December 1, 1963. After 58 years, the company history of Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter und Co. GmbH had come to an end – and the first chapter had begun at the new company RECARO (a name derived from REutter CAROsserie).

From today’s viewpoint, this turned out to be very much a win-win situation: it was not only the car body plant in Zuffenhausen that Porsche took on, but also some 950 employees from Reutter, thereby acquiring their know-how. From December 1963 onwards, around 250 remaining employees continued working at the Reutter headquarters on Stuttgart’s Augustenstrasse, where they manufactured seats and seat fittings, particularly seat reclining mechanisms, under the RECARO name. The economic basis for this new direction was built on an agreement that RECARO would provide all seats for Porsche sports cars during the next ten years.

Partners in motorsport: with its P1300 GT racing shell, RECARO is currently equipping the Porsche GT3 Cup vehicles—the winner at this year’s 24-Hour Race on the Nürburgring. (© RECARO)

Partners in motorsport: with its P1300 GT racing shell, RECARO is currently equipping the Porsche GT3 Cup vehicles—the winner at this year’s 24-Hour Race on the Nürburgring.
(© RECARO)

The close partnership between the two automotive pioneers Porsche and RECARO has endured, from that first decade up until the present day. RECARO supplied Porsche with almost every seat for the 911, up to and including the 993 generation, along with the seats for the Porsche 928. The sporty seats for the 914, 924 and 944 models also came from RECARO. RECARO Automotive Seating is currently supporting Porsche in motorsport as a technical partner and seating supplier for its GT3 Cup vehicles. One of the latest highlights here is the Porsche victory at the 24-Hour Race on the Nürburgring in 2018, with RECARO seats on board. It’s another outstanding milestone in more than 70 years of shared sports car history – and another page in this album of so many shared memories …

We look forward to many more thrilling Porsche models in the future, with their trailblazing ideas sure to create even more automotive icons!

 

 

Superior craftsmanship: leather seats from RECARO for the 1967 edition of the Porsche 911. (© Porsche archives)

Superior craftsmanship: leather seats from RECARO for the 1967 edition of the Porsche 911. (© Porsche archives)

Fitting like a glove: early bucket seats by RECARO. (© RECARO)

Fitting like a glove: early bucket seats by RECARO. (© RECARO)

Seating atelier: RECARO supplied Porsche with almost every seat for the 911, up to and including the 993 generation – and also for many other models. (© RECARO)

Seating atelier: RECARO supplied Porsche with almost every seat for the 911, up to and including the 993 generation – and also for many other models.
(© RECARO)

The world’s fastest fire brigade: the O.N.S. Porsche 914/6 GT from RECARO was deployed as the first racetrack emergency vehicle by Germany’s national motorsports commission back then, the O.N.S. (© archives of Herbert Linge)

The world’s fastest fire brigade: the O.N.S. Porsche 914/6 GT from RECARO was deployed as the first racetrack emergency vehicle by Germany’s national motorsports commission back then, the O.N.S. (© archives of Herbert Linge)

Top-quality fittings: the RECARO Idealsitz (“ideal seat”) in the Porsche 911 Targa S. (© RECARO)

Top-quality fittings: the RECARO Idealsitz (“ideal seat”) in the Porsche 911 Targa S. (© RECARO)

HEAVY PAULA AND OTHER LUCKY BREAKS FOR REUTTER AND THE PORSCHE 356

Karosseriewerk Reutter in Stuttgart
Night shift: finished Porsche 356s in the yard of the Reutter works in Zuffenhausen, awaiting dispatch on the next day. (© RECARO)

Beauty on the line: assembly of bodies-in-white at Reutter, ca. 1953. (© RECARO)

Beauty on the line: assembly of bodies-in-white at Reutter, ca. 1953.
(© RECARO)

“In the beginning I looked around and could not find quite the car I dreamed of. So I decided to build it myself.” This famous quote from Ferry Porsche describes the genesis of a legend, the first sports car bearing the family name: the Porsche 356. In part 3 of this look back at the sports car history shared by RECARO and Porsche, we dive into the fascinating 356, with its breathtaking curves, aerodynamic design and rear-mounted four-cylinder boxer engine, dive into the “adventure in mass production” at Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter (the predecessor of RECARO) – and dive into the countless details and anecdotes that have come down to us from the 356 production era. Here are a few examples:

The big order was issued verbally. It was given by Ferry Porsche in October 1949: a firm commitment for 500 bodies and frames from Reutter for the Porsche 356. Time was of the essence, so Reutter began the preparations, needing to order new machines and arrange facilities – all with implicit trust in the given word. It was only weeks later that a written contract confirmed the order. But the work had already been long underway.

Close scrutiny: Ferdinand Porsche (2nd from right), his son Ferry (right), design engineer Erwin Komenda (middle) and Reutter engineer Walter Beierbach (left) in March 1950 during inspection of the first body-in-white for the 356. (© Porsche archives)

Close scrutiny: Ferdinand Porsche (2nd from right), his son Ferry (right), design engineer Erwin Komenda (middle) and Reutter engineer Walter Beierbach (left) in March 1950 during inspection of the first body-in-white for the 356.
(© Porsche archives)

Eagle eyes: In March 1950, Ferdinand Porsche arrived at Reutter in Stuttgart’s Augustenstrasse, along with his son Ferry Porsche and design engineer Erwin Komenda, in order to inspect the first body-in-white manufactured by Reutter for the 356. He circled the body while considering it in imperturbable silence, before finally settling onto a stool in front of it. And after a while, he decided it had to go back to the workshop: it wasn’t symmetrical. Porsche was right: later measurements revealed that the body was shifted 20 millimeters to the right of the centerline. For everyone involved at Reutter, it was an inspiration: they respected their customer’s knowledgeability and high quality expectations, and applied their entire expertise to supplying Porsche with a first-class product.

No parts without Paula: Reutter manufactured the first coupes at the headquarters on Stuttgart’s Augustenstrasse. A handpicked team of car body specialists welded the individual sheet-metal parts into the perfectly formed outer skin of the 356 coupe. Smaller parts were wrought by hand over wood, while the larger drawn and pressed pieces were supplied by their colleagues at the second Reutter plant in Zuffenhausen, where the big press brake nicknamed “Paula” had doing her job. Actually, she should have been confiscated by the French occupiers, but was too big and heavy for transport. A blessing for Reutter!

Unique specimen: an original 1950 Reutter car body with serial number 5006 at the Automuseum Prototyp in Hamburg. (© Automuseum Prototyp)

Unique specimen: an original 1950 Reutter car body with serial number 5006 at the Automuseum Prototyp in Hamburg.
(© Automuseum Prototyp)

Cigar lighters and key pouches: At Reutter, the order for the Porsche 356 involved not only the delivery of car bodies and frames, but also the manufacture of seats and the entire interior trim, along with the installation of electrical and heating systems. Porsche also entrusted Reutter with the final inspection of the finished vehicles. Diverse options were included from the very start, so that even in 1950, every buyer had a choice of eight colors for the paintwork and seven fabrics for the seat covers, as well as four different leatherette covers. Even before the first production vehicles were delivered (each with two door keys and two ignition keys in individual pouches), there was already talk of optional extras, such a secondary car horn, a cigar lighter and a radio, as well as genuine leather seats and side panels.

A two-paned windshield with central divider? While unthinkable today, it was one of the hallmarks of the first Porsche 356, up until April 1952. Although curved glass was already available, it was expensive. Incidentally, this characteristic was also something that the Porsche 356 shared with the Volkswagen, whose famous rear “pretzel window” (with two flat, distinctively shaped panes, divided by a metal upright) was developed as an ingenious cost-saving expedient.

Proof of origin: every Porsche 356 manufactured at Reutter carried a nameplate from the coachworks, as seen in this early example. (© RECARO)

Proof of origin: every Porsche 356 manufactured at Reutter carried a nameplate from the coachworks, as seen in this early example.
(© RECARO)

The logo: Every 356 manufactured by Reutter can be recognized by the coachwork label showing the Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk logo – it was affixed inside the A-pillar of the roof panel, with another one always outside on the right, between wheel arch and door. And while the first Porsche 356 did carry the Porsche name on the hood (using individually applied letters!), at least one early 356 customer was already yearning for a distinctive company logo. A “Porsche Prize” competition was set up in 1951, with the goal of creating a logo for the sports car company. Since none of the submissions was persuasive, Ferry Porsche and his engineer Franz Xaver Reimspiess quickly designed the now world-famous Porsche emblem themselves, with its rearing black horse. The emblem began adorning the steering wheel in late 1952, before it was then added to the hood in 1954, placed above the Porsche lettering and integrated into the hood latch.

Initially brought to market as a niche product, the first Porsche sports car developed into a worldwide success. Instead of the originally planned 500 cars, some 78,000 Porsche 356s had been sold by the end of its production run – most of them built at Reutter. Next week on the RECARO blog, we’ll look at the iconic Porsche 911 – and how Reutter participated in its genesis.

From a single source: Reutter also supplied the seats and the entire interior trim for the Porsche 356. (© RECARO)

From a single source: Reutter also supplied the seats and the entire interior trim for the Porsche 356.
(© RECARO)

A fast seller: it was barely a year after production launch that the 500th Porsche 356, a coupe, rolled from the yard of Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter. (© Automuseum Prototyp)

A fast seller: it was barely a year after production launch that the 500th Porsche 356, a coupe, rolled from the yard of Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter.
(© Automuseum Prototyp)

The finest craftsmanship: seats for the Porsche 356 coming together in the trim shop at Reutter, with a driver’s seat featuring Reutter recliner fittings in the foreground. (© RECARO)

The finest craftsmanship: seats for the Porsche 356 coming together in the trim shop at Reutter, with a driver’s seat featuring Reutter recliner fittings in the foreground.
(© RECARO)

Diverse options: there were many possible variants of the Porsche 356 in terms of model, colors and equipment. A view of the final assembly at Reutter. (© RECARO)

Diverse options: there were many possible variants of the Porsche 356 in terms of model, colors and equipment. A view of the final assembly at Reutter. (© RECARO)

TOP SECRET: THE CONNECTION BETWEEN RECARO, PORSCHE AND THE VW BEETLE

Karosseriewerk Reutter in Stuttgart
With pride and passion: In the summer of 1938, Reutter employees produced two Porsche Type 60 (VW 38) bodies for testing purposes every week. (© RECARO) .

The idea was irresistible: why not build a small car that is inexpensive enough that a lot of people can afford to buy it? This idea first took shape in 1932 and six years later, the first Volkswagen prototypes were driving through the streets of Berlin for promotional purposes. The car’s design came from the engineering and design office of Ferdinand Porsche. Its body came from Reutter, the predecessor company of RECARO. In this, the second part of our retrospective on our shared history with Porsche, RECARO is taking a look at the exciting birth of an automotive legend which was presented to the public for the first time exactly 80 years ago and that later became a worldwide success under the name Volkswagen Beetle.

Zündapp from Nuremberg had it; NSU in Neckarsulm had it too: the idea to bring a modern, attractively priced compact car that could appeal to large segments of buyers onto the market. Both companies failed in their attempts to do so, because the investments needed for such a large scale mass production effort exceeded their capabilities. In both cases – Zündapp in 1931 and NSU starting in 1933 – Ferdinand Porsche and his team were involved in the effort. In both cases, Porsche commissioned Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter to build prototypes.

It was none other than Ferdinand Porsche himself who made the third attempt, personally taking charge of the effort. His signature and that of his team had unmistakably shaped the previous designs, such as their use of a four cylinder boxer engine in the rear of the vehicle and a new, streamlined design. He presented the small car project in Berlin and in 1934, he was commissioned to build a Volkswagen, a “people’s car.” However, the planned annual production volume of one million vehicles, the terra incognita of building a body completely out of sheet metal (instead of the wood and metal frame common until then), and the fact that the retail price could not exceed 1,200 Reichsmarks posed huge challenges to all of the companies involved in the effort. The first prototypes could not meet these requirements and Porsche once again applied his red pen to the design to reduce materials and thus costs.

The original form: A prototype of the Volkswagen sedan (VW 38 or Porsche Type 60) at Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter. (© RECARO)

The original form: A prototype of the Volkswagen sedan (VW 38 or Porsche Type 60) at Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter. (© RECARO)

At the end of the 1930s, Reutter came back into the picture. The flourishing auto body production company was bursting at the seams at its historic location in Stuttgart’s Augustenstrasse and in 1937, it had brought a new production facility online in Zuffenhausen. 850 employees at both sites produced auto bodies, both in mass and single unit production, for customers including Wanderer, Daimler-Benz and BMW. When Porsche’s engineering office, Dr. Ing. h. c. Ferdinand Porsche GmbH, moved in next door in Zuffenhausen, it was most likely the geographic proximity and the good collaborative spirit established in the previous years that proved decisive. Ferdinand Porsche went to Reutter to have a new – the seventh – prototype series of the Volkswagen built. Bull’s eye! A first model, made by Reutter entirely out of wood, just a few, minimal changes ­– and the final design was set.

It was planned that the public would be able to get a highly coveted glimpse of the new car for the first time at the groundbreaking of the planned Volkswagen factory in Fallersleben. Behind closed doors and covered by tarps, Reutter build a sedan and a convertible sedan as prototypes for the occasion. Exactly 80 years ago, on May 26, 1938, they were the big attraction at the ceremony in Fallersleben (today a district of Wolfsburg). After that, Reutter, working under tight secrecy, made forty more prototypes of the Volkswagen for testing purposes, including those for the 1939 International Motor Show IAA in Berlin.

But it was not until after the Second World War that the real victory march of the Volkswagen began. Known as the VW Beetle, it was manufactured in Wolfsburg in its almost unchanged “original” form up until 1959. It became a German automotive icon and by the time production of the beetle ended in Brazil in 2003, about 21.5 million VW Beetles had been sold worldwide. Next week, you can read about the role Reutter played in Porsche’s first “real” sports car milestone, the 356, here on the RECARO blog.

On a promotional tour as an exhibition car: the new Volkswagen. (© Automuseum Prototyp, Stavenhagen holdings)

On a promotional tour as an exhibition car: the new Volkswagen. (© Automuseum Prototyp, Stavenhagen holdings)

A bridge to the future: A pre-production model of the Volkswagen in the “canopy top sedan” variant from Reutter production – the new Volkswagen plant is under construction in the background. (© Automuseum Prototyp)

A bridge to the future: A pre-production model of the Volkswagen in the “canopy top sedan” variant from Reutter production – the new Volkswagen plant is under construction in the background. (© Automuseum Prototyp)

The one and only: This original beetle, the only remaining VW 39, is in the Automuseum Prototyp in Hamburg. (Photo: Automuseum Prototyp, © Jan Steinhilber)

The one and only: This original beetle, the only remaining VW 39, is in the Automuseum Prototyp in Hamburg. (Photo: Automuseum Prototyp, © Jan Steinhilber)

70 YEARS OF THE PORSCHE SPORTSCAR – 70 YEARS OF SHARED HISTORY

Karosseriewerk Reutter in Stuttgart, Germany
Porsche and Reutter: The Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter was a place where automotive dreams came true (Photo: RECARO).


For seven decades, Porsche has been bringing automotive dreams to life and putting them on the road. It is the same fascination for sporty driving that also powers RECARO Automotive Seating. But the connection between the two companies goes much further – much further back in time, back to the early years of the automobile.

Today and in the coming three Fridays, we here at the RECARO Blog are going to take you back to that time, immersing you in a fascinating story from automotive history. The famous statement by Ferry Porsche, who dreamed of a sports car and decided to build it himself after he couldn’t find it on the market, is still quoted frequently, even today. Now, here on the blog, you will learn about the literally formative role that Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter (which became RECARO in 1963) played in that story.

As early as 1906, there was a man who already had a clear vision of the mobility of the future: Wilhelm Reutter. Reutter wanted to move away from the horse-drawn carriage and he wanted to build car bodies. The young master saddler founded his own business, established contacts to the chassis and engine manufacturers of the time, won contracts. He made new, seemingly crazy ideas a reality, such as the patented “Reutter-Reformkarosserie,” a concept which featured a folding top – today known as a convertible. Reutter’s combination of solid, quality craftsmanship and innovative, forward-looking thinking was extremely successful and already by the 1920s, Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter & Co. GmbH had contracts with all of the renowned German automobile manufacturers like Daimler, Benz, Wanderer, BMW, Opel, Adler and Horch.

There was another German engineer who had founded his own engineering and design office in 1930, and who knew Reutter and appreciated his excellent work: Ferdinand Porsche. Porsche’s team designed engines for a variety of different clients, and starting in 1931 Porsche had most of the bodies for them built by Reutter. One example was the prototype for a streamlined auto body. The car never went into series production, but Ferdinand Porsche used the extravagant one-of-a-kind vehicle for many years as a private and company car.

In the late 1930s the collaboration between Porsche and Reutter intensified yet again when the new Reutter plant in Zuffenhausen, which was separated from the neighboring Porsche plant by just a single street, began production operations. Thus was born – under utmost secrecy behind the closed doors of the Reutter plant – a series of different prototypes for the so-called “Volkswagen” – the people’s car. Next week, you can read more about how this exciting story continues, here on the RECARO blog.

A STRONG NAME AND ITS HISTORY – PART 3

In 2009 RECARO Automotive Seating launched the RECARO Pole Position Carbon (ABE), the world’s lightest aftermarket seat with only 4.5 kilogram (© RECARO Automotive Seating)

In 2009 RECARO Automotive Seating launched the RECARO Pole Position Carbon (ABE), the world’s lightest aftermarket seat with only 4.5 kilogram (© RECARO Automotive Seating)

RECARO milestones of the 21st century: until this day RECARO Automotive Seating continues to revolutionize the seat design. The premium seat manufacturer is characterized by innovative ideas when it comes to materials and design as well as the unique connection between decades of experience and a future-oriented way of thinking.

2004 the RECARO Pole Position (ABE) was launched. To this day the model is one of the most popular racing shells, thanks to its slim design, optimum shoulder and lumbar support and its perfect ergonomics. The special thing about it: the RECARO Pole Position (ABE) was not only a highlight in terms of lightweight design but also the first street-legal racing shell. Today it celebrates its exclusive revival: Click here for more information about the RECARO Pole Position (ABE) Edition 2018: www.edition2018.recaro-automotive.com.

Only one year later, in 2005, RECARO became the first seat manufacturer in the world to revolutionize seating design with its new lightweight composite shell. With load-bearing seat structures made of polymer materials it was not only lighter but also more compact and thus provided additional space in the back. In 2009 RECARO Automotive Seating launched the RECARO Pole Position Carbon (ABE) which was even lighter: with only 4.5 kilogram, it is the world’s lightest aftermarket seat. Just one year later RECARO presented the Pure Seating concept seat for urban and electric vehicles. It has intelligent adjustment mechanisms and a weight saving of 50% compared to conventional seats.

The modular RPSP is designed for sports cars or high-performance derivates of volume-production vehicles in all relevant performance segments (© RECARO Automotive Seating)

The modular RPSP is designed for sports cars or high-performance derivates of volume-production vehicles in all relevant performance segments (© RECARO Automotive Seating)

In 2015, RECARO Automotive Seating transferred the platform approach for the first time to a seating concept and presented the RECARO Sport Seat Platform (RSSP). The RSSP featured an innovative combination of weight reduction with a customer-specific look and feel. In 2017 it was time for the world premiere of the new modular, customizable RECARO Performance Seat Platform (RPSP), featuring a body-shaped structure with pronounced, adjustable side bolsters for strong shoulder and torso support, offering „controlled thrills“ and direct feedback from the road. Click here for more information about the RPSP: www.performance-platform.recaro-automotive.com.

A STRONG NAME AND ITS HISTORY – PART 2

From setting new ergonomic standard to integrated stereo loudspeakers or innovative materials: Between 1970 and the late 1980s RECARO presented a row of new forward-looking milestones in terms of seat development.

1977 RECARO launched the pneumatic lumbar support, the RECARO Airmatic® and revolutionized mobile seating. Adjustable side bolsters on seat cushion and backrest and RECARO’s first electrically adjustable backrest significantly improved the ability to adapt to individual requirements. That meant a huge technical lead in terms of ergonomics and comfort for the driver.

Under the name RECAROfonie the company presented a seat in 1982 that was equipped with stereo speakers integrated into the headrest to provide a whole new audio experience in the car. Two years later this innovation was followed by a further development in comfort: the RECARO CSE came with a memory function and therefore the ability to “remember” adjustments. 1986 especially taxi drivers could be glad as the RECARO T-Line impressed with a breathable seat cover to optimize seat climate – comfortable not only on long drives.

At the end of the 1980s, 1989, RECARO presented another innovation – this time affecting the materials: the RECARO A8 was the first sport seat to come with a back shell made of plastic, making it lighter while opening up new possibilities in terms of design.

The RECARO CSE: the first seat with a memory function. (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

The RECARO CSE: the first seat with a memory function. (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

Revolution in terms of new materials: the RECARO A8 was the first sport seat to come with a back shell made of plastic. (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

Revolution in terms of new materials: the RECARO A8 was the first sport seat to come with a back shell made of plastic. (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

A STRONG NAME AND ITS HISTORY – PART 1

RECARO Automotive Seating is looking back on decades of exciting developments, innovations and milestones. The company’s early years already have been characterized by big names and groundbreaking technologies.

In 1906 master saddler Wilhelm Reutter quickly made a name for itself and his newly founded company in the up-and-coming automobile industry. „Reutter, Wilhelm, Sattler. Spezialität: Luxus- und Motorwagen, englische Geschirre“ changed into „Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter & Co“ in 1910. In 1912, for example, his workshop produced the patented Reutters “Reform Karosserie”, a predecessor to today’s convertibles.

Not only did Reutter make coach bodies for companies like Daimler or Horch. One of the milestones also is the production of the prototypes of the Volkswagen (later called the “Beetle”) at the Reutter workshops, commissioned by Ferdinand Porsche in 1935. The two companies also worked together closely after the World War II. From 1949, Reutter produced the bodies and interior fittings for the legendary Porsche 356 – and thus became known around the globe.

The foundation of today’s brand was laid in 1963, when Reutter rebranded. REutter and CAROsserie became RECARO. The new company specialized in the manufacture of seats and seat components.

Safety first: in 1968 RECARO launched the first seat in the world with adjustable shoulder support. Also the headrest premiered in the same year – initially as an option, then as a standard for every RECARO seat starting 1973. In 1973 the company also became the first manufacturer to offer anti-submarining seat upholstery guide, which prevents the passenger from slipping under the belt in the event of an accident. Some innovative solutions were also presented in terms of comfort back then: RECARO’s extendable seat cushion added comfort and support for tall people during long distance drives.

Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter in 1910 (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter in 1910 (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

Production of the bodies for the Porsche 356 (Picture © Family archive Reutter)

Production of the bodies for the Porsche 356 (Picture © Family archive Reutter)

The headrest celebrates its premiere – initially as an option, then from 1973 as a standard feature of every RECARO seat (Picture © RECARO Holding)

The headrest celebrates its premiere – initially as an option, then from 1973 as a standard feature of every RECARO seat (Picture © RECARO Holding)

FROM THE ROAD INTO THE OFFICE – THE LIMITED EDITION OF THE RECARO OFFICE CHAIR

Just in time for the holiday season, RECARO Automotive Seating presents a special design piece to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its shell seat: the RECARO Office Chair. Limited to only 500 copies and inspired by the first RECARO racing shell, the RECARO Rallye from 1967.

It is a must-have for automotive enthusiasts. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of its first shell seat produced in 1967, RECARO Automotive Seating is proud to present the limited-edition, retro-look RECARO Office Chair. Equipped with state-of-the-art technical features, this special design piece is limited to only 500 units.

Inspired by the successful RECARO Sportster CS, distinctive upholstery in characteristic houndstooth pattern covers the seat cushion and backrest, while the side bolsters feature high-quality perforated leather. One of the special details is its backrest. It features the original logo of the RECARO Rallye from 1967, the world’s first street-licensed shell seat. The exclusive Office Chair is completed with a rally-style “50 Years” emblem on the head rest.

RECARO Automotive Seating celebrates 50 years of shell seats with the limited edition of the RECARO Office Chair. (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

RECARO Automotive Seating celebrates 50 years of shell seats with the limited edition of the RECARO Office Chair. (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

LIMITED EDITION TO CELEBRATE 50TH ANNIVERSARY

RECARO Automotive Seating was not only presenting innovative and clever seat concepts to vehicle manufacturers at the IAA 2017. Also end consumers could look forward to finding out more about the newest highlights in terms of performance and dynamic driving pleasure at RECARO, Adient booth B24, Hall 5.1. To celebrate 50 years of the RECARO shell seat the brand presented the new Pole Position (ABE) Edition 2018 at the exhibition in Frankfurt.

“Armed with our 50 years of experience, we’re among the leading suppliers of lightweight, safe and comfortable shell seats – both for sporty street driving and for the extremely high demands of professional motor racing,” says Ingo Fleischer, vice president at Adient Specialty Seating.

The Pole Position (ABE) Edition 2018 is a performance racing shell with a strikingly sportive design. It’s made with finest craftsmanship and comes with a street license. The material used for headrests and side bolsters is leather with an exclusive carbon-look finish. Luminous green leather stripes with black contrast stitching emphasize the clear contours of the seat that is an upgrade for every interior. Jet black Dinamica suede on seat cushions and backrests provides a pleasant feel and optimum hold – ready for direct feedback from the track. Also remarkable about the RECARO Pole Position (ABE) Edition 2018: it is being made in a limited series of just 300. The seats will be delivered with a certificate and the serial number on an elegant aluminum tag.

Carbon meets leather: the new RECARO Pole Position (ABE) Edition 2018 (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

Carbon meets leather: the new RECARO Pole Position (ABE) Edition 2018 (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

Celebrating RECARO Automotive Seating’s 50th anniversary of shell seats: At IAA, the new street-licensed Pole Position (ABE) Edition 2018 will be launched. (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

Celebrating RECARO Automotive Seating’s 50th anniversary of shell seats: At IAA, the new street-licensed Pole Position (ABE) Edition 2018 will be launched. (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

BUSY PROGRAM WITH RECARO AUTOMOTIVE SEATING AT THE IAA 2017

Fans of RECARO Automotive Seating will be highly entertained at this year’s IAA. Among others, the premium seat manufacturer (Adient booth B24, Hall 5.1) is presenting new products for the aftermarket: the special edition Pole Position (ABE) Edition 2018 is RECARO Automotive Seating’s way of celebrating 50 years of shell seat. It’s an exclusive pure performance shell seat for driving fun on public roads – combining sporty, clean design and premium craftsmanship for individual, cool interiors. To get of one of the premium editions you have to be fast: they are only produced in a limited series of 300 seats. In addition, visitors can take a seat in the new RECARO Automotive Seating race shell concept for semi-professional and professional motorsport.

At this year’s IAA RECARO Automotive Seating is presenting two applications of the new Performance Seat Platform (RPSP) to vehicle manufacturers for the first time. The first one is targeting powerful vehicles with a sporty attitude, providing maximum driving pleasure. Number two is a demonstrator with advanced design innovations, e.g. a visible, carbon fiber-woven backrest structure.

Racing fans can look forward to a very special highlight RECARO Automotive Seating (Adient booth B24, Hall 5.1) has prepared for them: the Performance Challenge offers participants the chance to show what they are made of and to win exclusive prizes. The overall winner can look forward to an exclusive drift training session on the Hockenheimring. Also, there is a VIP visit twice: on September 20, Le Mans champion Timo Bernhard will comment on his lap in the race simulator – of course with a signing session afterwards. On September 22, TV presenter and automotive enthusiast Sidney Hoffmann will be visiting the RECARO Automotive Seating exhibition and rise to the virtual challenge on the Grand Prix-circuit of the Nürburgring.

From September 16 to 24, IAA visitors can compete for the fastest lap on the virtual Nürburgring Grand Prix course – in RECARO Automotive Seating’s Performance Challenge. (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

From September 16 to 24, IAA visitors can compete for the fastest lap on the virtual Nürburgring Grand Prix course – in RECARO Automotive Seating’s Performance Challenge. (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

Celebrating RECARO Automotive Seating’s 50th anniversary of shell seats: At IAA, the new street-licensed Pole Position (ABE) Edition 2018 will be launched – for vehicles in the “Pure Dynamic Performance“ Segment. (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

Celebrating RECARO Automotive Seating’s 50th anniversary of shell seats: At IAA, the new street-licensed Pole Position (ABE) Edition 2018 will be launched – for vehicles in the “Pure Dynamic Performance“ Segment. (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

RECARO Automotive Seating at the IAA 2017 (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)

RECARO Automotive Seating at the IAA 2017 (Picture © RECARO Automotive Seating)