Porsche 356 Roadster No1 brought ‘back to life’

Sports car manufacturer goes back to its roots by faithfully recreating legendary model as a show machine

The very first Porsche 356 was unveiled in 1948 – and now, 70 years on, the company has recreated that iconic model and will be showing it off at events around the world to celebrate the landmark anniversary.

The original No1 Roadster changed hands many times over the years, during which it was damaged, repaired, modernised, converted and repainted. Its essential essence remains, but the car itself no longer reflects its initial form – which is why Porsche has reproduced something that looks as close as possible to the original using the same materials and techniques, not to mention a generous helping of digital assistance.

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The painstaking, eight-month process began with Porsche Museum experts making a 3D scan of the 1948 roadster body to ensure accuracy in every detail and dimension. These virtual results were then superimposed onto scans of the period design drawings, revealing a number of deviations.

By consulting original photos, drawings and journals, the restorers were eventually able to reproduce a life-size model of the car milled from rigid foam.

After further tweaking to the dimensions and shaping, and using the original wooden gauges and metal-working techniques, they set about meticulously hand-creating a true aluminium replica of the original No1 body shape.

Similar attention to detail was paid to formulating the colour for the replica’s paint job, with samples being taken from under the dashboard to get as close a match as possible to the original hue. Even the floor mats are knotted using the same technique as 70 years ago

However, the replica is a purely cosmetic exercise. There is no engine, while the mesh frame, simple pipe rear axle and Volkswagen Beetle front axle, steering and wheel merely provide the means with which to roll the car from show stand to show stand.

Now you can see the Porsche 356 No1 recreation at an event near you over the coming season, as part of the 70 Years of Porsche Sports Cars anniversary. Venues include the Porsche Museum ceremony in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany, on June 8; Goodwood Festival of Speed, UK, on July 12–15; Porsche Rennsport Reunion, Laguna Seca, US, on September 27–30; and Guangzhou International Motor Show, China, on November 15–25, plus many more venues.

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