PORSCHE 356 B 1600 ROADSTER BY DRAUZ
The Porsche 356 was very much a father and son design effort with Dr. Ferdinand Porsche senior initially creating the Type 64 around 1938 with the intention of building three cars to compete in the planned 1939 Berlin-Rome road race, and the three competition cars were indeed built however the situation Europe forced the cancellation of the race. Of the three Type 64 cars only one survived the war and it remained in the ownership of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche’s son Ferry. The Type 64 was very much the design concept taken from Dr. Porsche’s design of the “KDF Wagon” which would later come to be known as the “Volkswagen” or “People’s Car“.
During the war Dr. Ferdinand Porsche worked on military design work including many of the German tanks and at war’s end he was interned by the French in conditions that did not help the health of the aging engineer. It was in 1951, not long after his release, that Dr. Ferdinand Porsche passed away leaving his son Ferry to take the helm of the family company along with his sister Louise. Ferry Porsche began his design for the new Porsche sports car with a mid-engine design which was called the No. 1 simply because it was the first prototype car to bear the Porsche name.
The first Porsche 356 featured an aluminum body and was on the road in 1948. The earliest cars were produced in Carinthia (Gmünd) in Austria with aluminum bodywork but when Porsche moved operations to Zuffenhausen in Germany in 1950 the bodywork was changed over to steel construction partly to keep costs affordable and also to keep the bodywork durable. Between 1948 until 1950 only about fifty cars were made.
The 356 remained largely unnoticed by the world until one was entered in the 24 Hours Le Mans for 1951 and came away with a class win. Owners of Porsche 356 automobiles were entering them in race and rally competition and the little car was fast building up some “street cred“. By 1953 Porsche gained some notable “street cred” in the Carrera Panamericana road race which crossed Mexico starting at the Texas border. A Porsche 356 piloted by José Herrarte from Guatemala won the small car class. So when Porsche introduced their new four cam engine in 1954 they called it the Carrera, a name that Porsche has adopted ever since.