1953 Porsche 356 'Pre-A' Coupe (RHD)
|Engine||1500cc Flat 4cyl|
Project number 356 for Ferdinand Porsche's design company was to become the first production car to bear the legendary name. After serving time imprisoned in France for two years, Ferdinand moved back to his birthplace, Austria, and commenced work on his own car in consultation with son Ferry. Production of these early '356' cars commenced in Gmund in 1948, when two were built. A further 43 were hand-built over 1949/50 as the company moved to Zuffenhausen to commence larger-scale production from early 1950. Unfortunately, just as the project gathered momentum, Ferdinand was to die in January 1951 after battling with the aftermath of a stroke. Ferry continued his father's vision and continued to develop the 356 into a more viable, performance-oriented alternative to the Volkswagen Beetle. Original cars used a Porsche-modified 1.1-litre, air-cooled, rear-mounted flat-four with non-synchro four-speed but by late 1951 larger 1.3-litre and 1.5-litre engines were available. Bigger brakes and Porsche synchro gearboxes combined with cleaner styling to really put Typ 356 on the map. From the initial 40bhp of the 1100, the later 1500 Super produced 70bhp for far more sporting performance and by this stage the 356 shared little in common with the humble Beetle. The cars built to late 1955 are now known as 'Pre A' models and being the first of a type are rightly prized by collectors today.