March 22, 2014
Oldest Porsche In Existence
Every car enthusiast has a passion for classic, antique, one of a kind and rare vehicles. Each of us has their own favorites, but every one of us respect all makes and models of these rare beauties. I myself am partial to the muscle cars of the 1960s and 70s, but I take nothing away from the earlier automobiles. They all have a heritage that is etched in the industry as a big part of automotive history.
One brand that I have written several posts on is Porsche. Last December I covered the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder with its futuristic design and improved performance. Porsche has definitely advanced a long way since its first production vehicle in 1948.
This vehicle was the Porsche 356. A prototype was produced named the Porsche No. 1 Type 356. It was a mid engine roadster that went on to become Porsche’s first production car. The production model had a four-cylinder, air-cooled engine mounted above the rear wheels.
The design was completely developed by Porsche, but some of the mechanical components were based on and came from Volkswagen.
In a September 1972 interview, Ferry Porsche explained the development of the 356. “I had always driven very speedy cars. I had an Alfa Romeo, also a BMW and others. ….By the end of the war I had a Volkswagen Cabriolet with a supercharged engine and that was the basic idea. I saw that if you had enough power in a small car it is nicer to drive than if you have a big car which is also overpowered. And it is more fun. On this basic idea we started the first Porsche prototype. To make the car lighter, to have an engine with more horsepower…that was the first two seater that we built in Carinthia,” he stated.
The first road certified 356 was on June 8, 1948. It was entered into a local race where it won in its class.
The man is Luciano Rupolo who found the car in a repair shop rusting away. He dickered for years trying to acquire ownership. Finally, he was able to purchase it for 250,000 Liras, approximately $180.00. Years after he purchased the car, he visited a Porsche museum and discovered his car was out of the ordinary.
The chassis number of his Porsche was 004. Upon researching, a more extraordinary discovery was found. Car numbers 001 and 002 no longer existed and car 003 was registered in 1949. His Porsche 356 number 004 had been registered in 1948, making it the oldest recorded production Porsche in existence.
I’m thinking this was quite a find.
Luciano spent the next several years trying to restore the car to its original condition. Wolfgang Porsche offered to buy the car, but Luciano rejected the offer stating, “You keep your money, I keep your car.”
Sadly in 2012, Luciano came into financial difficulties and was forced to sell his precious automobile. The buyer is rumored to be the same Swiss collector who owns the Porsche 356 car number 003.
Image Credit: Luc106