A new exhibit has joined the cult car section in CSDD Riga Motor Museum- one of the most recognizable sports cars of all time- POPRSCHE 356B.
Although the PORSCHE company was founded only in 1948, the traditions of the eminent brand are to be sought earlier. The talented Austrian engineer Ferdinand Porsche was a notable figure in the automotive industry already since the beginning of the 20th century and has participated in the development of numerous pearls of automobile design. Some of his most notable achievements that should be mentioned include the exclusive Mercedes-Benz S-class automobiles, the legendary Auto Union racecars, as well as the conception and design of the popular “people’s car” Volkswagen “Käfer” or “Beetle”. It is exactly VW “Beetle” with which the story of Riga Motor Museum novelty – PORSCHE 356 is connected.
PORSCHE 356 is the first automobile produced in the company founded in 1948 by Ferdinand Porsche and his son Ferry Porsche. The construction of PORSCHE 356 closely resembles that of VW Beetle, specifically, the torsion-type suspension with rear wheel drive, which was identical with the VW Beetle’s. The car is equipped with four-cylinder, 1130 cm3 engine with an air-cooling system that was located at the rear of the car. The comparatively lightweight automobile with the mass under 900 kg could effortlessly reach the speed of 140 km/h.
The bodywork of the first 50 cars was made in Gmünd. Later on, with the transition of manufactories to Stuttgart, the bodywork was done by the Reutter company, which in 1963 was bought by PORSCHE.
After the death of Ferdinand Porsche in 1951, the work of improving the model 356 was continued by his son. With each passing year, the demand for this exquisite sports automobile grew. At the end of 1950’s the production volumes reached 25 car bodies per day.
The improved Porsche 356B entered production in 1959 and a total of 30 963 cars of this model have been produced. It was distinguished from the previous model by headlamps that were positioned higher for improved visibility as well as a new decorative front grille. Improvements had been made in the engine as well - its capacity was increased to 90 HP. In comparison with other sports-class automobiles of that time, PORSCHE 356 excelled in aerodynamics, modern design and quality.
The PORSCHE 356 that is displayed in Riga Motor Museum was bought in Switzerland in 2013 by an antique car collector from Latvia. As befits a sports car, it has participated in various retro rallies in Switzerland, as well as in Nuvolari rally in Italy and the events organized by Antique Automobile Club of Latvia. From now on, this automotive icon will delight the visitors of Riga Motor Museum.