Thursday, June 8, 2017

356 "No. 1" Becomes First To Bear Porsche Name - June 8, 1948

June 8, 1948
On this day, a hand-built aluminum prototype labeled "No. 1" becomes the first vehicle to bear the name of one of the world's leading luxury car manufacturers: Porsche.

The Porsche 356/1 was the first real Porsche car created by Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche. This prototype car was a two-seater open roadster with a mid-mounted, air-cooled flat-4 engine of 1,131 cc displacement that produced 40 horsepower. While the body was an original design, most of the mechanicals including engine and suspension were derived from the Volkswagen Beetle which Ferry's father, Ferdinand Porsche, had designed.

The aluminum roadster body of the 356/1 was designed by Porsche employee Erwin Komenda in April 1948 at Gmünd and completed only a month later. Smooth and low, the 356/1 set the pattern for later 356s with one fundamental difference; the engine of the production cars was moved behind the rear axle to reduce costs and make room for two additional seats. The car was registered by the state of Carinthia (Kärnten) with the license plate K45-286 and made its maiden voyage on June 8, 1948.
(Photo;"PorscheNo1". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Only one 356/1 was made and it is on display at the Porsche Museum, Stuttgart.

The Porsche 356, close to stock or highly modified, has enjoyed much success in rallying, the 24 hours of Le Mans, the 1000 km Buenos Aires, the Mille Miglia, the Targa Florio, the Carrera Panamericana, as well as many other important car racing events.

All of Porsche's early street cars, including Dr. Porsche's first 356 sports car in 1948, headed to the race track early in their model life.

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