356 The 356 was the first production automobile to bear the Porsche name, and more than 78,000 cars were sold during its 17 years in production. Despite the shattered industrial infrastructure that Germany was experiencing, the post-war creation established an excellent reputation for the company. They had relocated to a former sawmill at Gmünd in Austria where they had set to work on designing the prototype 356. It relied heavily on mechanicals from Volkswagen (the Beetle in particular) and the design initially featured a tubular spaceframe chassis, aluminum body, and a mid- mounted 1131 cc engine capable of producing 35 bhp. Before the prototype was completed they had already finalized plans for a convertible and hardtop version, which would feature a simple box-section chassis, and placement of the gearbox and engine would change to make the new 356 a rear-engined car. Only 50 Gmünd models were built and each one was completed to owner specification, making each individual vehicle unique. Orders for the 356 kept arriving and the basic assembly facilities at the former sawmill were no longer adequate; it was time for Porsche to return to Stuttgart. In 1950 they released their first official Porsche 356 (the Stuttgart model), which had many similarities to its predecessor. Known as the Pre-A, its body was made of steel due to the lack of aluminum welding facilities at the Reutter factory. The Porsche name was neatly positioned in silver script writing on the nose of the car; it wasn’t until 1954 that it carried the iconic badge. The Pre-A initially



Engine Size Cylinders 0-60 mph Top Speed

1488 cc

4 *

91 mph Power Output 55 bhp Transmission Manual Gears 4 speed Length

152.4 in (3870 mm) 65.4 in (1660 mm)

Width Height Weight


1830 lb (830 kg)


Wheelbase 82.7 in (2100 mm) (Specifications refer to 1953 356 pre-A [1500])

* denotes unavailable on the Porsche website

featured a compact 1.1-liter engine that produced 40 bhp, but customer demand for more power and improved performance led to a 1.3-liter engine with a displacement

of 1286 cc becoming available in 1951. The 356 experienced rapid evolution during its early years in production and by 1954 modifications to the engine resulted

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