June 8, 1948 – The first Porsche

On this day in 1948 the first Porsche was completed, the 356 prototype. The vehicle was handbuilt, mainly by Ferdinand Porsche’s son, Ferry, as he helped navigate the troublesome postwar period in Germany, hoping to ensure that his father’s automobile engineering consulting company would rise out of the rubble. What he built was an aluminum bodied, mid-engine sports car with a modified up Volkswagen drivetrain. The short of the story is that Ferdinand Porsche had been an automotive consultant since debuting his first vehicle at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900. In 1936 he was recruited by the Nazi party to design an affordable vehicle for the German people, which would henceforth be known as Volkswagen. Following the war Ferdinand was arrested for war crimes. His son Ferry took over the family firm and struggled to keep it afloat. He was asked to build a racecar for a wealthy Italian. The car was dubbed the Type 360 Cisitalia and Ferry used the money raised by the project to pay his father’s bail. Following his release his father approved of the project that would lead to the production of the 356, the first car that would actually bear the name Porsche. The car, designated 356/1, was designed by  Porsche employee Erwin Komenda and made its maiden voyage on June 8, 1948, only about one month after the build began. The car laid the groundwork for production 356 vehicles, with one major difference, the engine was moved to behind the rear axle as a way to save money and allow for two additional seats. Following this Ferdinand was hired as a consultant at Volkswagen and used his salary to open a new office and production facility where he planned to build up to 500 Porsche vehicle’s per year. In the next 20 years more than 75,000 Porsche’s left the assembly line. The car is currently on display at the Porsche Museum, Stuttgart. Photos:The 356/1 on display in Stuttgart by leduardo – Flickr, CC BY 2.0,

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