1951 Porsche 356 Coupe (Pre-A) Spark - S4919 (resin)
In 1939 Ferdinand Porsche designed the Typ 64 specifically to race at the Berlin-to-Rome race. However, due to World War II, the race never happened. Three prototypes were made but that was it. In 1947, Ferry Porsche and Louise Piëch (son and daughter of Ferdinand Porsche) founded Porsche Konstruktionen GesmbH in Gmünd, Austria. At the time, Ferdinand was still in a French prison, so Ferry, also an engineer, was responsible for projects development. With the Typ 64 prototype as inspiration, he designed the first Porsche model ever, the 356. Initially, Porsche’s factory was in Gmünd, and produced 52 cars there (44 coupes and 8 roadsters). Thus, the Austrian-built 356 became known as “prototype 356” or “Gmünd 356”.
The 356 was a small coupe with a 1131 cm³ air-cooled engine in the back, delivering 25 hp. Power output was quite low, but Ferdinand Porsche believed that what mattered was the power-to-weight ratio. So with the first cars weighing only around 780 kg, the 356 could reach a top speed of 144 km/h. Initially it shared many components with Ferdinand’s more popular creation, the Volkswagen Beetle. For instance, the rigid floor pan was unique to the 356, but a Beetle front and rear suspension assemblies would bolt right in. And just like the Beetle, the 356 had four-wheel independent suspension with torsion bars.
The production at Gmünd only lasted until 1950, when Porsche’s bigger and more modern plant opened in Stuttgart, Germany. The biggest difference between the older Gmünd 356 and the Stuttgart one was the body. Though looking identical, all the Gmünd coupes had an aluminum body, while the newer Stuttgart ones had steel bodies. During the 356’s production run, Porsche produced it in four series, called 356 (or Pre-A), 356A, 356B and 356C. All in all, Porsche produced 76313 cars, from 1948 to 1966. In 1964 the 901 came out (later called 911), and soon after Porsche phased out the 356.
It took a long time but I finally have a 356 in the Garage. And not just any 356, but a g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s Pre-A 356 from Spark. You know it’s a Pre-A car because of the split front window. In scale the car is a thing of beauty, an absolutely fantastic model. One of those models that you should get just because it’s so nice. Though admittedly a bit late, I now have the first Porsche model in my collection. And for the Porsche enthusiast, this one is a must.