We all know and love the iconic Porsche 911. The unmistakeable profile and obsessively engineered performance have made it a world-class performance car for decades. It’s had no successors since its introduction, but did you know it has one predecessor?
Before the 911, Porsche made their first production car, the 356 from 1948 through 1965. It was conceived by Ferry Porsche, the son of Ferdinand Porsche who started the company and designed the Volkswagen Beetle. Ferry Porsche had a vision for a car that was lightweight and compact, but also powerful and fun to drive. The 356 might be the very first car that was designed and built to be fun. Looking at its design, it’s not hard to see that it borrows design cues and even some components from Volkswagen. They went with a flat-four, rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout very similar to the Beetle. The difference was the Porsche 356 was a luxury performance car.
Take a look at any car in the world from 1948 and then take a look at the Porsche 356. When we look at it today it looks like a Porsche, but older. When it was new, it was a groundbreaking design unlike anything else save the Beetle. Most sports cars at the time were much bigger with more emphasis on bigger engines making more power. Porsche was different. The compact design, relatively small engine, and sleek, aerodynamic design made it desirable for true motoring enthusiasts. It wasn’t uncommon for racers to own one and drive it on the track as much as they do on the street. It was a race car you could live with every day.
Porsche as a brand was born on the track. Racing is in the marque’s DNA. The 356 was a perfect introduction into production cars for Porsche. They started out being built in very low volumes. It took two years to build the first fifty cars. This wasn’t because of laziness or poor business, it was because the cars had to be perfect. An outstanding design deserves intense attention to detail in building the cars. This obsession with performance is still very much alive in Porsche. Drive a modern Porsche and it feels like the engineers of the car have driven countless miles and innumerable laps to fine tune it and tweak every detail to make it absolutely perfect. It feels that way because that’s exactly how Porsche engineers their cars. That all started with the 356.
Dusty Cars is one of the leading classic car buyers in America, with a renowned reputation for offering the best prices in the business for cars in any condition.
We’ve travelled the US and abroad for over 20 years, locating and purchasing classic models that defined the car industry between the 1940’s and 1970’s.