The first Porsche to be presented at Pebble Beach

Porsche No.1

Porsche announced that at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance they’ll bring the Porsche No.1, the first Porsche created (built by Ferdinand Porsche more than 50 years ago, in 1947) and the car that started the Porsche legend. The one-of-a-kind, two-seat sports car was suppose to make its first North American appearance at Porsche’s 50th Anniversary celebration at the Monterrey Historics in 1998, but the car was damaged in Chicago on its way to California.

Officially known as Type 356-001, Ferry Porsche’s design concept took shape through the leadership of Karl Rabe, Porsche’s talented chief designer who worked alongside Ferry’s father to develop the original Volkswagen (VW). Starting with a hand-built tubular steel frame, engineers fitted already existing VW components including the suspension, headlights, clutch, gearbox, cable-operated brakes, worm-gear steering, and various small parts.

The basic Volkswagen air-cooled, 1.31-liter flat-four engine put out just 25 horsepower at 3,300 rpm, so the skilled Porsche team enlarged the bore from 70 to 75 mm, increased compression from 5.8:1 to 7.0:1, and added slightly larger inlet valves and ports and twin carburetors, boosting output to between 35 and 40 horsepower. The engine and transaxle were fitted into the frame in such a way that the engine ended up positioned in front of the rear axles with the transaxle trailing behind, making this a true mid-engine design. Mated to a four-speed gearbox, the drivetrain proved to be both lightweight and reliable.


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