After the war, work resumed in the Porsche design office in 1946 under the responsibility of designer Karl Rabe. The company initially based in Stuttgart is temporarily domiciled in Gmünd in Austria, due to the American occupation of its German factory. Inspired by Cisitalia, the idea of building its own sports car occupied all Porsche’s thoughts, especially since, despite the crisis in Germany, Volkswagen was resuming its serial production in Wolfsburg.
It was during 1947 that the first Porsche was conceived, with a first rolling prototype completed in July 1947. The dream became reality on June 8, 1948 with the official homologation. Porsche has just realized its first sports car.
Ferry Porsche had set himself the goal of building a small sports car with an advantageous power-to-weight ratio power to weight ratio and for an affordable price. This very first Porsche had the 4-cylinder VW engine, slightly modified and placed in the central rear position (the first steps of the Boxster!) as well as an all-aluminum body on a tubular chassis. The Porsche 356 is presented at the 1949 Geneva Motor Show, one year after the presentation of the 356 prototype.
It marks the starting point of the production of Ferdinand Porsche and his small team of engineers and but the beginnings of the small company still have everything of the craft. The 356 is entirely handmade. At the end of the war, the sports car market is not very dynamic, so the dynamic, so the presentation of the Porsche coupe attracts many businessmen in Switzerland and in Switzerland and Austria, which had not suffered too much from the war. With 500 first orders the Geneva Motor Show, the Porsche workshops in Gmünd, Austria, soon proved to be too too small.
The Stuttgart factory was still occupied by the American army, so Porsche had to resort to subcontracting production to the to subcontract the production to the coachbuilder Reutter. The convertible being for its part entrusted to Heuer. The 356 abandoned the tubular chassis of the prototype for a more classic self-supporting more classical. The engine has been shifted to the rear and now has the famous overhang which the 911 will inherit. The real series production of the 356 started in 1950 in a rental plant in Zuffenhausen, Germany. factory in Zuffenhausen, a district of Stuttgart.
7 years after its launch, the success of the Porsche 356 is not denied. However, Ferry Porsche knew that he had to continue to innovate as his father would have done. The 356 A is distinguished visually by the presence of a chrome strip along the bottom of the body and a new windshield. We also note the trunk handle on the front hood with the Porsche crest and the cooling grills under the headlights. In the cabin, Porsche introduces a little more comfort, with
accessories such as the windshield washer, a new dashboard with a padded upper section and and front seats with reclining backrests. Under the hood, the original VW 4-cylinder flat engine 1300 or 1300 S (normal or Super) version, but the 1500 is replaced by a new 1600 that delivers
on the other hand, the 1500 leaves its place to a new 1600 delivering 60 hp at 4500 rpm or 75 hp at 5000 rpm (1600 S). Finally, the modifications include new 15-inch diameter rims, revised suspensions with torsion bars and suspension with torsion bars and wider tracks as well as a screw steering system (patented by Porsche) All of these developments result in a significant increase in stability and precision at high speeds.Note that the Speedster will disappear in 1958, replaced by the
“Convertible D” manufactured by the coachbuilder Drauz.
Porsche continues to develop its sports car and the year 1960 constitutes the beginning of the 3rd
episode in the life of the 356. Porsche opened its third factory and to support the success of its model, the
model, the small manufacturer, faithful to its philosophy of continuous progress, brings some
to maintain the 356 among the best sports cars in the early 60s.
The 356 B offers a better visibility and a greater luminosity with a larger glass surface.
glass surface. At the front, the headlights are mounted higher and the wings become more prominent. The
The new ogive-shaped turn signals characterize the 356 B. Under the bumper there are two
air inlets for better cooling of the brakes. On both the coupe and the cabriolet, the exterior
the exterior mirror is no longer fixed to the front wing but to the door. Finally, the chrome strip on the
is wider in its lower part. The soundproofing is reinforced in the cabin which gains
new, more comfortable seats. The rear seat has a two-part folding backrest.
in two parts.
The 356 B will be offered as a coupe, convertible and roadster, with three engine levels: 1600 (60 hp), 1600 Super (75 hp), Super 90 (90 hp).