In The Flesh: The Porsche 356

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When it comes to cars, he who is first shall have his name engraved on a plaque and hung on the wall of fame.  And the Porsche 356 is no exception.

While some may say that the car looks too much like a Beetle, it cannot be argued that the shape of this car, an elongated version of one of the most influential cars in automotive history, is simply beautiful.  And when seen in the flesh, that sense of beauty is enhanced tenfold.

In my opinion, it’s simpleness and a fair degree of subtlety that’s the secret behind this car’s astonishing looks.  And that, I believe, is something that’s been lost a bit over the years in modern sports cars.  These days it’s almost as if everyone’s trying to hard to be the best looking thing on the road, and to me, that doesn’t always work out as the manufacturer expected.  But then again, we are living in the age of chronic plastic surgery, and look how that usually turns out…

photoeffect_1378523943802The car was developed shortly after the conclusion of World War II by Ferry Porsche, son of Ferdinand, while Germany was still despised for its actions during the war.  Ferdinand Porsche was in jail and Porsche’s pockets were bone dry.

However, Ferry, inspired by the Cisitalia 202 he had constructed, was determined to create a sports car capable of crushing any and all competition.  So, after breaking into the Volkswagen factory and stealing some parts, Ferry ran back to the new Porsche factory in Austria and set to work.  And in 1948, the 356 was born.photoeffect_1378523707971

It was powered by various different engine powerplants, each gaining power as the car matured.  Power ranged from 40 bhp from the 1.1-liter flat-four engine sourced from the Beetle to a 2-liter flat-four that was good for 130 bhp and a top speed in excess of 120 mph.

In my opinion, the Porsche 356 deserves a ‘Thank You’ card.  The only reason why we have Porsche is because of this thing.  If it weren’t for the construction of this beautiful machine, the go-to choice for yuppies may have never existed, and with that, many a driving thrills would have been experienced in something with a Porsche badge.  This car is the reason for the 911, the 924, the 928, the 944, the 959, the Cayman, the Boxster, and those other few cars that Porsche makes that really aren’t all that much of a Porsche.

photoeffect_1378523527400And just like how once you see one particular car you see a bunch, it was less than 24 hours after seeing this astonishing piece of curvy, red, aluminum motoring brilliance, I saw a white 356 pulling into a gas station for a refueling of gas and people oil.  No pictures of that one, unfortunately, but I’m quite confident that this one is enough to do the job.

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