Porsche is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its first-ever production car and is putting on a special exhibit at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart for fans to enjoy.
The first ever vehicle to wear a Porsche badge was the 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster. It was officially given its general operating permit on June 8, 1948, exactly 75 years ago. Although it was based on a VW, most of the parts and certainly the production process and materials were bespoke to Porsche.
Since then, the brand has grown to become one of the most desirable and most recognisable auto brands in the world. It continues to produce a sports coupe and convertible in a similar form to that original 356 as well, with the 911.
So, to help celebrate, Porsche has arranged its main museum in Stuttgart to reflect on and showcase its illustrious history, while also pointing to the future by showing off the recently-revealed Mission X concept at the museum, from June 20. Achim Stejskal, head of Porsche Heritage and Museum, said:
“For the special exhibition celebrating the anniversary we’ve modified the museum more comprehensively than ever since it was opened in 2009. Seeing the feats of engineering and the many ideas from the past 75 years, and using them to shape the future, makes the importance of heritage more topical than ever.”
We recently visited the museum and witnessed some of the stunning and legendary vehicles, including the iconic 917 and 956 Le Mans race cars, and the epic Porsche 908/03 Spyder race car that competed in Targa Florio and Nurburgring in 1970 and 1971.
One of our favourites is the 959. This set new standards for the super sports car scene back in the 1980s, originally built for Group B racing regulations.
It debuted an advanced all-wheel drive system for Porsche, as well as a four-mode suspension system, and boasted the title as the world’s fastest production car in its day recording a top speed of 317km/h. Just 292 examples were made.
Another favourite of ours is the Carrera GT. This mid-engined V10 supercar, equipped with a proper manual transmission, was tuned by rally ace Walter Rohrl. It featured a 5.7-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine that produced 450kW, and could rev out to 8400rpm. Thanks to its carbon fibre monocoque it weighed only 1380kg.
Of course, the stars of the exhibition have to be the 356 classics that started it all for Porsche. Following the ‘No. 1’ roadster, Porsche made the 356 coupe. Although the original roadster was made on a complex space frame the 356 coupe switched to a more conventional sheet metal and box frame for production, as it was much more efficient to manufacture, including cost-efficient.
One of the 356 coupes on the display is nicknamed ‘Ferdinand’. A jet black example, it was presented to Ferdinand Porsche on his 75th birthday back in 1950. The car lived on to become a test bed vehicle, racking up almost 400,000km.
The special exhibition in Stuttgart will run until January 7, 2024, with other special showcases also taking place in other parts of Europe, such as at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne, and at the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse Museum in Austria.