Motoring: It's a classic: Here's one they made earlier

The first production Porsche, the 356 of 1948, was a big sister of the Beetle which Ferdinand Porsche designed for Hitler prior to the Second World War. In fact, it created the template for every Porsche thereafter up until the quirky 914 of 1969, and its front-end styling, rear-engined layout and two-plus-two seating arrangement remain the Porsche design constant.

Though the original, Austrian-built, aluminium-bodied 356 (right) was powered by a diddy 1131cc, air-cooled, flat-four engine (from the VW) with just 44bhp, its light weight and sophisticated suspension allowed it to run rings around far more powerful machinery.

The company moved to its current home, Stuttgart, in 1950, and began building cars in steel, which was cheaper but also heavier, which necessitated an engine upgrade. A soft- top Speedster version was created for the American market (it was a 550 Speedster that James Dean died in), and over the next decade the little Porsche gained more power and achieved notable rally and race success. It was replaced by the six-cylinder 911 in 1964.

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