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Motoring: Porsche 356 - 1948

After the ending of the war, Ferdinand Porsche, who had designed the Volkswagen Beetle for Adolph Hitler, was sent to a French jail (for his Nazi-collaboration). During these years, his son Ferry founded the Porsche factory in Gmund, Austria and freed his father (very ill at that time) by paying a huge amount of money. They quickly developed a sports car, the 356 roadster, mainly using left-over Beetle parts.

Built using a space frame and given model type number 356, the car soon became very popular. It had a sleek design and a strong boxer engine, which also proved to be of great use on the race tracks. The next car, representative of all 356's that followed, was built using a sheet metal platform chassis and given model type number 356/2. Production moved to Stuttgart, Germany in 1949.

Initially, the 356 used Volkswagen front and rear suspension, wheels, brakes, transmission and engine (but with two carburetors instead of one). Engines were progressively modified (initially with Porsche designed heads) until eventually the engine became a Porsche proprietary product. Apart from the first 30 odd cars built in-house, all Porsche 356 bodies were built by outside coach builders beginning with Beutler of Switzerland, Tatra of Czechoslovakia, Kastenhofer of Austria, D'Ieteren of Belgium and Reutter, Drauz and Karmann of Germany.

In total 79,218 Porsche 356's of all types were built. Production ceased April 28th, 1965. The 356 range comprised Coupes, Cabriolets, Convertible D's, Roadsters, Karmann fixed hardtops and Speedsters. There were 4822 Speedsters built between 1954 and 1959. Of this number 149 were Speedster Carrera's and of these, 71 were stripped Speedster GT's. The last 25 Speedster GT's built in 1959 are considered the most desirable of all Speedsters and are even lighter with aluminum doors, deck lids and seat frames.

Model Type: 2 Door Coupe
Body Designer: Erwin Komenda
Engine: Carrera 2 Type 587/1 4 Cylinder (1966cc) horizontally apposed engine
Horsepower: (DIN) 130 bhp, (SAE) 152 bhp at 6200 rpm
Torque: 112 lb at 5000 rpm
Transmission: 4-Speed gearbox
Front- Independent, double oscillating arms, square section torsion bars, telescopic shock absorbers.
Rear- Independent, swing axles, round section torsion bars, telescopic shock absorbers
Top Speed: 130 mph

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