What is regarded as the first “real” Porsche, was the 356, designed by Ferry Porsche during Porsche Seniors imprisonment in France for war crimes. Ferry had recently discovered that if you put enough power in a small vehicle, it would be nicer to drive than a big overpowered car. His idea was to create a automobile that was lighter, but with an engine that would produce more horsepower.
With that in mind, Erwin Komenda, who had worked for the company since its inception, had completely reinvented the chassis as well as the body for this amazing new vehicle. The first prototype was completely made by hand and had chassis number 356-001 edged into the aluminium. The very first 356 to conquer the open road was registered on the 8th of June 1948 and straight away won a race in it’s class in Innsbruck. As a result Porsche wanted to focus more on the performance of the vehicle.
In 1950 the production of the 356 moved from the small sawmill in Gmund, Austria to Zuffenhausen in Germany. Here the bodies would be produced in steel, the previous aluminium models would now called the prototypes. A little fun fact is that the company that produced these steel bodies was later bought by Porsche and he changed the name from ‘The Reutter company’ to ‘Recaro’ and retained the seat manufacturing part of the business.
Finally in the early 50’s Porsche had finished 50 automobiles. At this point the reputation of the 356 had reached the other side of the Atlantic. This was of course due to its aerodynamics, handling, and high end build quality, all of which were demonstrated in the win at Le Mans in 1951.
After creating 4 different series of the 356; ‘The original’, 356 A, 356 B and the 356 C in both Coupes and Cabriolets (convertibles), Ferry designed the 901 to propel the Porsche brand into the future.