The first Type 356, designed by Ferdinand Porsche at the age of 72, was constructed in the then home of the Porsche company, an old sawmill in Gmund in Austria, in 1948. This first prototype, which now resides in the Porsche museum in Stuttgart, had a weight saving tubular frame and aluminium body designed by Erwin Komenda. It had a Volkswagen engine and gearbox but switched to make this a mid-engined car.
A second car was built in the same year, with a pressed steel chassis and floor pan and with the engine and gearbox in the rear position. as in existing VWs. This was the configuration Porsche used for the seventeen year production life of the 356. Because of Porsche's links with VW the first production cars made use of a number of Volkswagen parts, but as the model developed these were replaced with parts of Porsche's own design.
The first thing to strike you about the 356, whether it be a coupé or convertible, is its stunning good looks. In our opinion, the soft curves, combined with that uncomplicated, purposeful tech makes this the finest of all the production Porsches.
If you own a 356 you can be satisfied that you possess the original Porsche sports car. It is the Porsche designed by Ferdinand Porsche himself. You will have something relatively uncomplicated. It will be simple to maintain and run. It will be, moreover, an investment far better than dull cash in the bank.
A 911 may be bigger, faster and more comfortable but when you get into your 356, settle down comfortably in your low leather seat, grip the steering wheel and peer through that narrow screen, all the while listening to the throbbing of that flat four aircooled engine behind you, that you know you are the owner of the real deal.