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This past Friday, June 8, was the 70th anniversary of the first ever Porsche-badged car. In the past, we discussed the Porsche 356, Ferry Porsche’s first production vehicle and the first car ever to carry the Porsche name. But did you know that there was an ultra-cool, ultra-sleek prototype model dubbed the Silver Bullet by the press?

The Porsche 356/1 was Ferry’s first big attempt at success after he disowned his father. Ferdinand Porsche was actually commissioned by the Nazi party in Germany to produce “people’s cars,” or “folk’s wagons,” hence the name Volkswagen. We’ve touched on Ferdinand a bit in the past because of his dark but important history and his conviction for war crimes, but today we’re looking at Ferry’s first jaw-dropping contribution to the automotive world.

The 1948 356/1, designed by Erwin Komenda, utilizes a tube frame just like any good racer, but Ferry insisted on aluminum for the prototype to be as lightweight as possible. The main difference between the 356/1 and the 356s is evident by the shape of the vehicle. The 356 has a sloping back that is reminiscent of the Beetle it is based on because Porsche found that the car rode better with the 1.1L behind the rear axle rather than in front. The original prototype 356/1 has the “silver bullet” flat back due to the mid-engine design. The mid-engine was far more balanced, though, since the weight distribution was more even.

Although only one 356/1 was ever built, it hasn’t stopped the aftermarket replica community from producing its own versions. The handmade version from the fine folks at Replicar is your best bet at a chance for an experience with the real thing.

-Trey Fennell

1955 Porsche Pre-A Speedster Coco #81 Beige & Cream

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