The story of Porsche dates back to long before the establishment of the marque, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche
playing pivotal roles in so many illustrious marques, such as Volkswagen, Austro-Daimler, Steyr and even Cistalia (the French authorities freeing him after the war with the Italian manufacturer paid them a million francs so that they could secure his services to design a new Grand Prix
car). But the best was always the one that bore his name, and we think very few would disagree.
The first iterations were based largely on the pre-war Volkswagens, being a rear engined two seater powered by a mildly tuned 69ci 1131cc VW flat four engine. Production commenced I 1948, but it was when manufacture was switched back to Porsche’s original Stuttgart base in 1950
that things really took off. In 1951
output was 500 cars, and by 1956
the number had grown to 10,000. The cars were nearly always successful in any competition they entered, even in their debut at Le Mans – a feat they would mimic 12 times by 1987
Ferry Porsche assumed control of the company following the death of his father in 1952
, and under his guidance the 356 acquired bigger engines and more power. By the mid 1950’s exports began to the US, were there was an almost insatiable appetite for anything Porsche. The 356 was replaced by the 911 in 1964
, arguably the most famous of and recognisable of any sports car. The 911, along with the company, would continue to move upmarket – and they represent one of the most sought after and collectible classics to this day.
A very small number of Porsches trickled into Australia during the 1950s. The 1955 model had a 1.5-litre engine and the basic Porsche shape was established even then. The early Porsches - open and closed – have been rising in value since the 1980s, to forbidding heights, but if you can afford a good one, snap it up. The Type 356A arrived in 1956 with a 1600 engine and the Carrera version in 1958
. It was replaced in 1960
with the 1.6-litre 356B, then the 356C (1964
) and 356SC. Production stopped in 1965
in favour of the 912 and 911. Unbelievably, these latter iterations would be even more collectable.
Also see: Porsche Heritage
| The History of Porsche (USA Edition)