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The very first Porsche - No. 1

Come and experience the very first Porsche

The sportscar that started it all - the Porsche 356 No. 1 will be stopping in Toronto next weekend from September 15th to 16th as part of the 70 Years of Porsche celebration. It will be on display to the public at Harbourfront Centre - 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto.

When: September 15th to 16th

Where: Harbourfront Centre - 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Some history about this iconic car

The “Number 1” actually began life as the “Type 356 VW sports car”, or the “VW Sport” for short. The idea for the vehicle was conceived back in the summer of 1947. And by February 5, 1948, Ferry Porsche took his place behind the wheel in the new chassis for the first time. This first outing actually took place in the Austrian town of Gmünd as the Porsche company had been ordered to leave Germany in 1944. Ferdinand Porsche re-embraced his Austrian roots and moved his business across the border. It was also at this point that the connection between the “Number 1” bodyshell and Switzerland first cropped up: During those post-war years, lightweight metals were incredibly difficult to get hold of in Austria, but not in Switzerland. In return for his sales permit, Porsche had to promise the government in Vienna that the vehicle being made of this precious commodity would be sold abroad – Austria needed foreign exchanges.

However, it was several months before the car was stable and ready. In fact, before even completing the “No. 1”, Porsche had already started constructing the 356 series models, which featured a rear engine rather than the mid-engine. In spite of this, Porsche chose not to assign the series a new development number, no doubt because he was already busy with other designs, such as the Type 360, the Cisitalia racing car.

When the time came to present the “Sport 356/1” as the roadster was officially known, Porsche looked to Switzerland once again, choosing the surroundings of the popular Swiss Grand-Prix held at Circuit Bremgarten, which was already teaming with representatives from the trade press. It was here that the first journalists tested the car before the race on the 7.26-kilometre and incredibly dangerous track. The ever first driving report about a Porsche was thus published in the Swiss Automobil-Revue magazine on July 7, 1948: The report professed “full confidence” in the car, a “modern, low-slung, practical sports car”, suitable for “daily use by a sports driver but also for participating in sporting events...”, offering “control and stability in tight bends”.

Date Posted: September 8, 2018