Ferdinand Porsche founded the company called ""Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche GmbH"" in 1931,with main offices at Kronenstraße 24 in the centre of Stuttgart. Initially, the company offered motor vehicle development work and consulting, but did not build any cars under its own name. One of the first
assignments the new company received was from the German government to
design a car for the people, that is a ""Volkswagen"".
This resulted in the Volkswagen Beetle one of the most successful car designs of all time. The Porsche 64 was developed in 1939 using many components from the Beetle.
During WWII, Volkswagen production turned to the military version of the Volkswagen Beetle. At the end of World War II in 1945, the Volkswagen factory fell to the British. Ferdinand lost his position as Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen, and Ivan Hirst,
a British Army Major, was put in charge of the factory. (In Wolfsburg,
the Volkswagen company magazine dubbed him ""The British Major who saved
On 15 December of that year, Ferdinand was arrested for war crimes, but
not tried. During his 20-month imprisonment, Ferdinand Porsche's son, Ferry Porsche,
decided to build his own car, because he could not find an existing one
that he wanted to buy. He also had to steer the company through some of
its most difficult days until his father's release in August 1947. The first models of what was to become the 356 were built in a small sawmill in Gmund, Austria.
The prototype car was shown to German auto dealers, and when pre-orders
reached a set threshold, production (with aluminum body) was begun. Many regard the 356 as the first Porsche simply because it was the first model
by the fledgling company. After the production of 356 was taken over by
the father's Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche GmbH in Stuttgart in 1950,
Porsche commissioned a Zuffenhausen-based company,
which had previously collaborated with the firm on Volkswagen Beetle
prototypes, to produce the 356's steel body. In 1952, Porsche
constructed an assembly plant (Werk 2) across the street from
Reutter Karosserie; the main road in front of Werk 1, the oldest Porsche building, is now known as Porschestrasse. The 356 was road certified in 1948.
Today the phrase ""Race on Sunday, drive on Monday"" was the motto of many Porsche
356 drivers in the 1950s. The 356 could be a winner on the race track
at the weekend and then go back to being a reliable everyday car again.
Even today, a
Porsche is not an everyday Sports Car. It is a
Sports Car for every day and every type of weather. Incidentally, the
356 models were so popular that for many dealers it was a case of 'Win
on Sunday, sell on Monday' - on account of the numerous
Porsche racing victories.
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