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356 Porsche 1948 - 1958
356 cont'd

The Porsche Prototype 356/1
The Porsche Prototype 356/1

The Porsche Prototype 356/1 (above picture) is the first Porsche ever produced. The first design drawings were completed on 17 July 1947 and on 8 June 1948 the Kärnten state government issued a special permit approving the car. Returning home after being held by the French as a prisoner of war and bailed out of custody by his family, Professor Dr.-Ing.h.c. Ferdinand Porsche, Ferry's father, stated right away that "every single bolt was just right". Number 1 was then followed by a small series of 52 additional cars built in Gmünd, production in Stuttgart from 1950. The intellectual and, indeed, spiritual "father" of the car was Professor Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche, who died on 27 March 1998 at the age of 88.
The Porsche Prototype 356/1 was hand built in early 1948. It has since been restored, and can be seen at the museum as well as on "tour" across the world.

Rare view - Porsche 356 assembly line
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Porsche Vehicle Assembly of the 356 in 1956
Assembly line porsche 356 in 1956
Engine construction Porsche 1953
Transmission production Porsche
A Gmünd Coupe! only 50 built
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A Gmünd Coupe! One of about 50 hand built Posches created while Porsche was still located in Gmünd, Austria.

Porsche 356/2 1948

After the first 356/1 roadster was produced, Porsche made their 2nd car, the 356/2. It was an aluminum coupe. There were 4 of these made in 1948. Only 25 more were built in 1949, and 18 in 1950. They had rear engines, unlike the 356/1's mid-engine layout. Perhaps the most distinctive trait is the split windshield.

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356 America Roadster (1952)
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The Porsche 356 America Roadster (1952)

Simply one of the most coveted Porsches of all time. This beautiful machine was built in 1952. It was to be only for the American market and had a lighter, aluminum body built by Gläser. It had no side windows like the regular Cabrio had. The split windshield could be removed for racing. Notice its low beltline and leather hood straps. Between 16 and 20 were produced in all, and only 11 are still known to exist today.

The 356 type was the first car to bear the name Porsche.
It has become synonymous with "driving at its most glamorous" and so far the rear-engine sports car in all its numerous manifestations has lost none of its fascination.

1953 coupe porsche 356

The Porsche synchronous gearbox opened up a new dimension in driving at its most glamorous. The Porsche of the model year 1953, which actually began in October 1952, not only had better gear-changing but also braked better as the diameter of the brake drums had grown from 230 to 280 mm. Visual retouches included bumpers with rim flanges which were moved even further away from the bodywork, round tail lights (two on each side) and flashing indicator lights directly below the headlights.
Finally there was the seal of quality, particularly desired by foreign customers, a special Porsche coat of arms set into the horn knob of the new VDM two-spoke steering wheel. The emblem represented a combination of the arms of the company headquarters in Stuttgart and Baden-Württemberg and the Porsche logo, and soon became the symbol of fast, reliable sports cars.
A 1.5 litre engine with roller-borne Hirth crankshaft and a full 70 HP marked the peak in performance.

Life with a 356 became increasingly luxurious. Modifications included additional anti-noise material, new seat shapes, Bosch horns, a pneumatic fuel gauge, an improved windscreen washing system, a passenger seatbelt and even two clothes hooks.
Cabrio drivers enjoyed a better rear view with tops closed thanks to an enlarged rear window, while Coupé drivers could opt to feel the wind in their hair after a mechanical sliding-roof was added to the accessories list in April. New to the range was the 60 HP 1300-S engine which had made its debut at the Paris Salon in October 1953.

Porsche 1954 speedster convertible

In September 1954 Porsche launched a new model which was to become a legend – the Speedster. The new open-topped Porsche intended specially for the American market complied with the motto: "Less is more". The spartan features made the car not only lighter but also cheaper and the Speedster thus became the most likely way to enjoy driving made by Porsche.
The racy line with the low windshield was retained even with the closed emergency cover.

Porsche 1955 356 speedster cabriolet
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The 55 Porsche range, however, was not only graced with new bodywork: From November 1954 the engines acquired a three-part crankcase and driving safety benefited from a front stabilizer and reinforced steering knuckles.

The Porsche speed speedster was presented in September 1955 and built until August 1958. This basic model 356 cost at that time DM 11.900,--.The entire production to 356 A speedster amounted to accurately 2.347 copies.

Porsche 1956 356 A

The Porsche stand at the IAA in Frankfurt in September 1955 was surrounded by curious persons. No wonder since the models for the coming year launched here had it tough. The 356, now with the additional letter A, offered better road positioning than previously thanks to a modified running gear and the engines, increased from 1.5 to 1.6 litres, improved the running style.
The Coupé and Cabrio now had a curved windshield without kink and all models including the Speedster acquired a redesigned dashboard. The sensation in Frankfurt however was the new super Porsche named the Carrera with an engine that really packed a punch. For under its bonnet this car had the four-cam shaft drive gear with vertical shaft drive already launched in 1953 in the racing Spyder. It was designed by Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann who later described it with a smile as his "youthful sin". The lavishly built engine produced 100 HP and test driver H.U. Wieselmann gushed in auto motor und sport: "The sum of its driving features and its genuinely superb engine give to those who have the feel for it an experience of pure driving, the likes of which do not exist."

10,000th Porsche 1956

Porsche driving in the year 1956 was at a high point and on 12th March 1956 the manufacture of the 10,000th Porsche was celebrated (above photo).

Porsche 356A cabrio

The 356 A, listed internally under the title T 1, changed very little in this model year. From the early part of the year, for example, the rear lights were given a teardrop shape and the front indicators acquired a chrome surround. The rear windows of the Cabrio and Speedster were enlarged and the cowl-type emergency cover for the Speedster received a new shape which allowed more headroom.
TheCarrera dream car was now to be available in GT and de Luxe variants only. The GT was available later than hoped and therefore it belongs to model year 1958. The de Luxe was aimed at those who had previously jokingly described the Carrera as the "most expensive fridge in Europe". Now an efficient petrol electric car heater ensured that passengers need no longer freeze. The GT was aimed at more sporting customers who got ten HP more power and a lighter car since the side and rear windows in the GT were made of Plexiglas. Weight was also spared on the bumper fastenings and the seats, for which Speedster shells were used. Extra wide drum brakes ensured reliable braking at high speeds.

1958 Porsche 356 Speedster 1600N ivory (below)

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Factory Specifications
Engine: 1600 cc air-cooled boxer 4 cyl
Transmission: 4 spd manual
VIN: 84552
Miles: 85,551 mi

1958 Porsche 356a

For this model year Porsche bundled a large package of innovations which were presented at the IAA in Frankfurt in September 1957. These included for instance the new and somewhat more directly operating Ross-type steering which promised greater steering precision and a new crankcase which improved oil circulation. The models, internally named T 2, were however recognisable by the exhaust pipes which penetrated the rear bumper bar; the Carrera being the exception in this case.

One of the most obvious modifications in the interior was the new seat form which "arose from the scientific collaboration of tape coil specialists" as noted by the Stuttgart auto motor und sport journal. And a contemporary brochure showing a delicate female hand reaching for the gear stick is evidence that Porsche driving was not intended as just a boy's thing. "Power and elegance at your fingertips" was the caption – certainly not just a reference to the more easily reached gear stick of the T 2 but also to the new diaphragm spring clutch which required far less effort than the earlier version.
The range also included a new hardtop available for the Cabrio and the Speedster.


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