The very first Porsches were hand-built in an old sawmill in the Austrian town of Gmünd, and each one was different. However, in 1950 production moved to Stuttgart in Germany and the cars became more standardised. Various models were produced over the years and the first, now known as Pre-A cars, were built from 1950 to 1955.
These pretty cars, built with a steel plate box-type chassis and all-steel bodywork, were offered in both closed coupe and open-top versions. The first had split windscreens, but in 1952 a single-piece screen was introduced, with a distinctive ‘crease’ down the centre.
The torsion-bar suspension and rear-engined layout was to set the tone for the 911 which was to follow.
The 356 was initially available with a 1100cc engine only, although larger engine options soon became available.
Engine: Rear-mounted, air-cooled flat-four with twin Solex downdraft carburettors
Compression ratio: 7.0:1
Bore and stroke: 73.5x64mm
Maximum power: 40bhp at 4200rpm
Maximum torque: 70Nm at 2800rpm
Brakes: Front: 230x30mm drums; rear: 230x30mm drums
Suspension: Front: Double parallel arms with torsion bar springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar; Rear: Swing axles with torsion bar springs and telescopic dampers
Wheels & tyres: Front: 30Dx16 with 5.00/16 tyres 30Dx16 with 5.00/16 tyres
0-60mph: 23.5 sec
Top speed: 87mph
Coupe and Cabriolet versions were offered