Porsche 356 (1948-1965)

Porsche 356
© James Herne

Although Ferdinand Porsche and his Porsche engineering company had designed cars for other companies for a long time, it was in 1948 that a first "Porsche" was made. Then it was just a "Porsche", but today we call this mid-engined roadster as a 356/1 (or 356 no. 1) to distinguish it from the rear-engined 356 that followed. The 356/1 (a single car) and the 356/2 coupés and cabriolets were made in Gmünd, Austria. All these cars had aluminium bodies. In 1950 the production switched to Stuttgart. As the series production didn't allow the use of handmade aluminium body panels, the cars were made of stamped steel panels. The first Stuttgart-built 356 have later been called as "356 Pre-A". That's because the following generations were 356 A, 356 B T5, 356 B T6 and 356 C. The 356 was made in many body forms: Coupé, Cabriolet, Speedster, America Roadster, Convertible D, Hardtop coupé, Beutler, Karmann, Abarth and in many engine variants: 1100, 1300, 1300 S (Super), 1500, 1500 S, 1500 GS Carrera, 1500 GS Carrera GT, 1600, 1600 S, 1600 GS Carrera, 1600 GS Carrera GT, 1600 GS Carrera GTL, 1600 Super 90, 2000 GS Carrera 2, 2000 GS Carrera 2 GT and finally 1600 SC. The last evolution of the 356, the "C" got disc brakes. The 356 was followed by the 901/911.

1948 Gmünd, Carinthia, Austria. Exterior designer Erwin Komenda, Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand Porsche, 356 no.1 (35 hp, 585 kg / 1290 lbs, 135 km/h / 84 mph).© Porsche
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356 no.1: only one car was made with this design and with mid-engine© Porsche
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356 no.1© Porsche
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1948 Porsche 356/2 with aluminium body© Porsche
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1948 Porsche 356/2 with aluminium body© Porsche
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1948 Porsche 356/2 Cabriolet with aluminium body by Beutler© Porsche
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1948 Porsche 356/2 Cabriolet with aluminium body by Beutler© Porsche
1951 Le Mans 24h: 356 SL (Super Light) #46 of Auguste Veuillet/Edmond Mouche scores 20th overall (and 1.1-litre class victory) with average speed of 73 mph/118 kmh compared to the winner's 93 mph/150 kmh. © Porsche
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Aluminium bodied 356/2 Gmünd Coupé for Le Mans: 1.1L 46 hp, 640 kg / 1410 lbs. The restored car shown here has the racing numbers with wrong font.© Porsche
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1952 Le Mans 24h: 356 SL #50 Auguste Veuillet/Edmond Mouche - 11th overall (1.1-litre class winner)© Porsche
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1955, Merano, Italy. 356 no.1 on Porsche gathering. Look how modified it is 7 years after its birth - gone are the rear bumper and eye-shaped rear lamps. New are the round-shaped lamps and engine cover grille. And the paintwork, of course. Later in its life, the car was restored back to its initial look.© Porsche
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1956 March: 10.000 Porsches made© Porsche
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© Porsche
1958 356 A 1600 GS Carrera Hardtop, Ferry and F.A. Porsche© Porsche
1958 New York. 356 A, Ferry Porsche and his son, F.A. Porsche.© Porsche
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Available for the late 356 A, the Porsche-badged wheel hub cap is here shown on a 356 B© Porsche
Ferry Porsche with 356 B T5 (produced 1960-1961)© Porsche
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356 B T6 (1961-1962)© Porsche
Ferry in a 356 no.1© Porsche
1994 September 19. Ferry Porsche on his 85th birthday in a 1948 Porsche 356 no.1 which he had created.© Porsche

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