1949 Porsche 356: The Sleek and Fast

1949 Porsche 356: The Sleek and Fast

Engine Flat 4 Horsepower 40 HP (29.44 KW) @ 4200 RPMTorque 52 Ft-Lbs (71 NM) @ 2800 RPM Engine Location Rear Drive Type RWD Weight 1800 lbs | 816.466 kg Transmission 4-speed manual

Built by hand with individual attention to each vehicle the 356th was the Porsche’s first production car, widely regarded as one of the most significant sports vehicles of the 20th century. 

Source: autoevolution

The Porsche 356 was lightweight and nimble, with a rear-engine layout that gave it excellent handling and balance. It was powered by a flat-four engine that produced between 40 and 90 horsepower, depending on the model, and could reach top speeds of up to 120 mph. The vehicle was handmade, with each vehicle receiving individual attention from the company’s skilled craftsmen. The roadster’s high-quality materials and meticulous construction made it both durable and reliable, which helped to cement its reputation as a world-class sports vehicle.

The origins

Source: Petersen Automotive Museum

The 356th, designed by Ferdinand Porsche and his son Ferry, was widely considered an icon. Its story started during their imprisonment in a French prison in 1944 when they began sketching a new sports vehicle design inspired by the Volkswagen Beetle. After their release in 1945, father and son started working on a prototype of their new sports vehicle, which was revealed in 1948 at the Geneva Motor Show. The first version was powered by a 1.1-liter flat-four engine producing 40 horsepower. Despite its modest performance, the roadster became popular among sports vehicle enthusiasts because of its sleek design and excellent handling. Over the years, the company continued to refine and improve the 356, introducing different modifications of the model such as the Convertible, Super, and A. The 356 became a cultural icon by the late 1950s, appearing in various media. However, by the early 1960s, Porsche knew it was time to introduce a successor, which led to the introduction of the 911 in 1963. Thus, the 356 paved the way for the success of the 911 and remains a classic in the sports car world.

The 1949 model year

Source: Heacock Classic

The 1949 edition was one of the first commercially available roadsters produced by the legendary brand and marked a significant step forward from its predecessor, the 1948 model year. The 1949 version of the model differed from its predecessor in a notable way – it was equipped with a more powerful engine. The new 1.3-liter flat-four engine produced an impressive 40 horsepower, a significant upgrade from the previous year’s 1.1-liter engine, which could only manage 35 horsepower. Additionally, the 1949 release featured a four-speed manual transmission that contributed to the car’s agility and driving pleasure. Another notable difference between the 1949 release and the previous year’s model was the refined exterior design. The vehicle’s aerodynamic shape was improved with more streamlined curves and contours, giving it a more dynamic and modern appearance. The headlights were moved slightly further apart, and the fenders were made more prominent. The result was a sleek and sophisticated sports car that turned heads everywhere it went. The interior of the 1949 edition was also improved from the previous year’s model. The car featured comfortable bucket seats upholstered in leather, which provided excellent support during high-speed driving. The dashboard was also redesigned, with more gauges and dials, making it easier to monitor the car’s performance. The steering wheel was also updated, with a new design that made it easier to grip and provided better feedback to the driver.

Did you know?


The 1949 edition was the first automobile by the German brand to be exported to the United States. Thus, it was imported to the US and arrived in New York in 1950. This marked the beginning of the brand’s successful expansion into the American market, which would ultimately become one of its most important markets worldwide. Today, the United States remains a major market for Porsche, and the 1949 version holds a special place in the company’s history as the model that started it all in America.

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1949 Porsche 356: The Sleek and Fast

Engine Flat 4 Horsepower 40 HP (29.44 KW) @ 4200 RPMTorque 52 Ft-Lbs (71 NM) @ 2800 RPM Engine Location Rear Drive Type RWD Weight 1800 lbs | 816.466 kg Transmission 4-speed manual

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