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Porsche of the day: 356 No.1

Exactly 72 years ago today, the Porsche 356 No. 1 Roadster git his license plate carrying the iconic »K45-286«. In the meantime, the prototype with the mid-engine and tubular frame is now in the Zuffenhausen Porsche Museum. However, much of what distinguished the first sports car under the Porsche name lives on in the brand DNA to this day. An overview.

Text: Alfred Rzyski Photo: Porsche 15.06.2020 2 min

A real boxer

Although four have now become a full six cylinders and the performance is significantly higher - the basic concept of the engine is still the same after 72 years. In the very first Porsche, a boxer with opposed combustion chambers ensures proper propulsion. The 35 hp may sound little today, but at the time it was built, it was sporty. And they provide a top speed of 140 km/h, which is not to be sneezed at.

Open to the world

Driving a Porsche means driving openly: In the best tradition of the »No.1«, Porsche also offers the Series 356 as a convertible. With success, because the concept has proven itself: As a classic roadster, but also as a »Speedster« and »Targa«, the special driving experience will prevail. To this day, where open variants are found in the 911 and 718 series.

Golden middle

Let's put the cart before the horse: Yes, the rear-mounted engine is part of Porsche and defines the brand like nothing else. But Zuffenhausen also has a special relationship with the mid-engine, such as that of the »356 No.1«. Over the decades, the 550, 917, Carrera GT and 918 Spyder have been followed by other exceptional cars that also rely on this design. The youngest members of this successful family: 718 Cayman and Boxster.

Take it easy

The path to an own sports car was by no means easy for Ferry Porsche. But the final result was. With a weight of just 585 kilograms, the »No.1« is a real Filou. The low weight was achieved by a steel grid tube frame, over which a light aluminum body was placed. Although this combination of materials is no longer necessarily used today, the maxim of lightweight construction still applies.

(Motor) sports cars:

A Porsche belongs on the race track. Ferry already knew this and consequently brought the »No.1« 356 to the 1948 Bern Grand Prix. In the race itself, the car does not compete, but test drives are organized for journalists. The press quickly agreed: The Porsche fits in. Not only as a car for the daily use of sports drivers, but also for participation in sporting events. 18 overall wins at Le Mans later, we cautiously agree.