1951 Porsche 356 Light Metal Coupe.
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When Ferry Porsche developed the first Roadster prototype to create an alloy coupe in 1948, it was a successful move. In contrast to the Porsche Number 1, the engine was now moved behind the rear axle, as with the Volkswagen, to create space for two small emergency seats. Around 50 examples of the 356 aluminium coupe were produced between 1949 and 1951 in the Austrian town of Gmund, and then provisional production lines were set up in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen.
In 1951 the aluminium coupe's manufactured in Gmund became the basis for Porsche's entry into the world of automotive racing.
Naturally, it was specially modified. The tank capacity was increased to 78 litres by moving it further forward and shaping it to fit around the spare tyre. In order to accelerate refuelling, the filler neck protruded in the centre through the front lid. On its very first outing, at the Le Mans 24 Hour race, the Porsche importer in France at the time Auguste Veuillet, with Edmonde Mouche as co-pilot,drove the aluminium coupe straight to a class victory at an average speed of 140 km/h.
The speed and reliability of the Porsche Coupe was demonstrated during a record-breaking drive lasting 72 hours in 1951 in Monthery. During this race an aluminium coupe from Gmund with the new 1.5 litre engine with over 70 bhp covered almost 11,000 kilometres, which corresponds to an overall average of 152.35 km/h. By the mid 1950s, the aluminium coupe with a 1,500 cc engine and now also, as was already a feature of the series 356, with the single-piece windscreen, was successful all over Europe, predominantly at rally events. This was the case in 1952 with a class win in Monza, in 1953 at the Sestriere rally, at the Belgrade Grand Prix and the Alpine Rally, in 1954 at the long-distance Liege-Rome-Liege rally and in 1955 at the ice race in Zell am See.
Engine: Four-cylinder twin-valve induction engine as mid-engine, central camshaft with push rods, air-cooled.
Power: 70 HP at 5.000 RPM.
Displacement: 1488 cc.
Fuel system: Two downdraft carburettors.
Transmission: Four-speed gearbox.
Chassis: Self-supporting steel body with aluminium outer panelling, independent wheel suspension, torsion-bar suspension, hydraulic drum brakes.
Dimensions & Weight: Wheel base 2.100 mm.
Length: 3.860 mm.
Weight: 640 kg.
Performance: Top speed 162 km/h.
Chassis No. of the Porsche museum car: 356/2-055.
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