An idea conceived by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, the Porsche 356 designed by his associate Erwin Komenda were made during the years, 1948-1950 and initial sales were sluggish.
It was during the Paris Auto Show in 1950, Porsche’s distributor for France; Auguste Veuillet (SONAUTO) along with Le Man’s organiser, Charles Faroux convinced both father and son (Ferry Porsche) to participate in races. Veuillet who was also a racing driver knew how important it is for a new car brand to participate in racing, if it has to sell. Dr. Porsche was also convinced as the 356 was the first Porsche car to have his personal name. So it was agreed that Le Mans would be the ideal event to begin with.
The car Dr. Porsche decided to use were three Porsche 356 Gmuend's* having an aluminium body (the standard faring being an all-steel body). For its modification, Dr. Porsche asked his designer, Wilhelm Hild to proceed. Hild fitted streamlining wheel covers, removed several unwanted panels essentially making the overall structure lighter, allowing it to be named as ‘Super Leicht’ or SL.
Under the hood was a modified 1.1 litre engine that allowed the car to participate in the below 1100 cc category. Fitted with dual Solex carburetors, this new lightweight car (weighing just 650 kg) had a power output of 44 hp and could go to a top speed of 160 km/hr.
How tough and expensive it is to enter a competition was realized after Dr. Porsche’s experiment with this attempt. Of the three cars, the first one was damaged during it's first trial. The second car crashed and could not be repaired on time for the race. So, the third one was prepared in Germany. While in France, Veuillet convinced another Frenchman Edmond Mouche to be his co-driver.
On 23rd June, 1951 #46 car with Veuillet behind the steering wheel took part in Le Mans. Though this car came in 12th position, it laid the seeds for Porsche in competitive racing.
* Porsche 356 Gmuend is also available @ Scale Model Cart
|- Premium collectible|
|- Licensed product|
|- Material: ZAMAC (zinc alloy), Rubber and Plastic|
|- Non-opening model|
|Box Dimension (in inches)||6 x 3 x 3|
|Theme||Racing - F1 / GP|