There is a saying according to which a good story sells, and a picture says more than a thousand words. In that sense the year 2021 saw a snapshot between enormous walls of snow that had already made history 60 years previously: the legendary jump over a Porsche! Back then and today the spitting image of a brand and its attributes.
If the internet had already been there in 1960, this picture would have gone viral: the photo shows the legendary skier Egon Zimmermann jumping across the gap between two enormous walls of snow on Flexenpass near Lech Zürs. Below him a beautiful, ruby Porsche 356 Coupé is parked across the road. Back then he had not yet won the Olympics, but he had the courage to do this daring stunt. “In those times, as a downhill racer, you had to be quite the daredevil”, Karlheinz Zimmermann reminisces as he thinks back to his brother’s reckless trick.
“This photo makes him immortal.” Karl-Heinz Zimmermann
The iconic black and white picture with the ironic subtitle “As he was taking a shortcut” was taken by brilliant photographer of his time, Hans Truöl. It may well be the most famous work by the photographer who died in 1981. It represents the spirit of those days when courage, sportsmanship, and especially joie de vivre had returned after decades of hardship.
“The entire family loves the idea of seeing this jump brought to life once more.” Michael Zimmermann
The legendary shot, newly interpreted
Let’s jump to the year 2021: Porsche decides to stage the famous photo once again, but this time in colour and with the first fully electric sports car Taycan as the motif. The jumper? None other than Aksel Lund Svindal, two-time Olympic Champion and five-time World Champion, one of the most successful ski racers of our times. “The entire family loves the idea of seeing this jump brought to life once more”, says Michael Zimmermann, Egon Zimmermann’s nephew, in an interview during the preparations.
“It is a special honour to get to write the next chapter in this story.” Aksel Lund Svindal
Meanwhile, up on Timmelsjoch, at 2,500 metres above sea level, Svindal gets ready for the perfect jump. He starts easy, not too fast, towards a jump made from snow, about 100 metres away. The act itself is over in just over a second. “It is an honour to get to write the next chapter in this story”, he admits. He feels connected to Egon Zimmermann, whom he actually knew personally, because he, too, was an Olympic Downhill Champion. “And both of us,”, Svindal remembers happily, “wore the start number 7” – albeit 54 years apart.
“I’ve known the Porsche-Jump since I was a boy, and it is known all around the world. Hans Truöl photo-graphed my family, too. That’s why it’s a huge honour for me and the whole thing is coming full circle on a personal level. The mountains and the snow are embedded in my DNA, too.” Stefan Bogner, photographer
The photo of the jump over the Neptune blue Porsche Taycan is a new interpretation of the historic black and white picture and it symbolises the mentality of the Stuttgart-based sports car maker – embracing new challenges and being courageous in the pursuit of new solutions while always daring a little more than others.
Back to Svindal, who soars majestically like an eagle over the five-metre gap. Underneath him on the ground lurks the photographer, Stefan Bogner. He, too, has a personal connection to the legendary photograph: “Hans Truöl took pictures of my uncle Willy Bogner and my grandfather Willy Bogner senior. Consequently, it is a great honour and we’ve come full circle, on a personal level”, says Bogner before turning back to the camera. He waits for the right moment and takes the shot. Everyone involved in the new edition of “The Porsche Jump” seems to sense the magnitude of this enterprise. Executive Lutz Meschke sums it up: “Today, we wrote history”. A history that began with Egon Zimmermann and Hans Truöl. “If he were alive today, he would be here”, a visibly moved Karlheinz Zimmermann says about his brother. “Maybe he’s watching from above.”
On occasion of the new edition, Porsche Museum will design two high-quality prints that are expected to be available from mid-December 2021 via the Porsche online shop.
“While you’re taking the picture you are so focussed on the shot that its effect really only hits you weeks later. It was a wonderful project with the team, Porsche, and Aksel and it definitely makes the list of top-ten experiences in my life. It really was quite special.” Stefan Bogner, photographer
Egon Zimmermann was born in Lech, on 8 February, 1939. The trained chef had started to ski at the age of six and in 1962 he became Giant Slalom World Champion. Two years later followed the Olympic medal for downhill skiing during the Innsbruck Winter Olympics. In 2019 Zimmermann died aged 80, still living in his hometown. “This photo makes him immortal”, says his brother Karlheinz Zimmermann about the picture that travelled around the world. Back then it was a giant avalanche that had blocked the road Flexenstraße, the only connection between the villages of Stuben and Zürs am Arlberg. Huge snow cutting equipment was used to clear the road, the snow was piled up high on both sides of the road. “The walls were higher than ever”, remembers Zimmermann, “that’s what excited Hans Truöl and my brother so.” The photo was the result of a whim when that rare occasion presented itself, Karlheinz Zimmermann recalls. The most important requisite in the picture, the ruby Porsche 356 B, was Truöl’s own car, he also remembers. “Back then the 356 was an impossible dream for my brother and me.” What was also a dream was the friendship that connected Egon Zimmermann and Hans Truöl after the stunt until Truöl’s death in 1981.