“I couldn’t find the sports car of my dreams, so I built it myself,” , Ferry Porsche
The extraordinary story of the Porsche 356 is also the story of a long transformation. Starting from humble origins, the first Porsche later became an archetypal sports car. From its small-scale, artisanal beginnings, it went on to be a worldwide commercial success and a triumph of motorsports. The secret of this success lies in its strong, distinctive personality. Steve McQueen, James Dean, late conductor Herbert von Karajan, Former French President George Pompidou and even the Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis—one of the most internationally renowned personalities of the 1950s and 60s—all owned this legendary model.
The Porsche 356 was born out of Ferry Porsche’s ambition to offer a vehicle that combined practicality, elegance and a compact size. Designed in autumn 1954 at the request of Max Hoffman, who imported the Porsche brand to the United States, the car was made to appeal to gentleman drivers of the time with a preference for Corvettes or Thunderbirds. With its windscreen lowered by 9 cm, the 356 offered rapid acceleration, unbeatable braking power and an excellent road holding. The Porsche 356 Speedster is the embodiment of German prowess in the automobile industry. It was manufactured for only a few short years, with a total of less than 5,000 units, further adding to the international acclaim that surrounds this model.