‘The aim of Ferry Porsche and his father, Ferdinand, in building the original Type 356 was to supply a connoisseur’s automobile, something in the Bugatti tradition of perfection. They innocently thought that a total of fifty to one hundred cars would saturate the world market for such cars!’ – Sports Cars Illustrated.
The work of Ferry Porsche, the first Porsche road car – the 356 – was based on the Volkswagen designed by his father, employing a similar platform-type chassis with rear-mounted air-cooled engine and torsion bar all-independent suspension. In 1951 a works car finished first in the 1,100cc class at the Le Mans 24-Hour Race, thus beginning the marque’s long and illustrious association with La Sarthe. The first phase of development saw the 356’s engine grow to 1.3 and then to 1.5 litres; the original split windscreen replaced by a one-piece; and a Porsche synchro mesh gearbox adopted. 1955 marked the arrival of the restyled 356A, the newcomer being readily distinguished by its rounded windscreen and 15″ – down from 16″ – wheels. At the same time, a 1,600cc engine replaced the old 1.5-litre unit and would be standardized on the successor 356B model. In production until 1965, the 356 is where the Porsche legend began and good examples have long been prized by collectors.