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Porsche recreates its first car

by Ben Hsu

The 356 roadster celebrates 70 years of Porsche.

Seventy years ago, in 1948, the first Porsche, a 356 Roadster was created. Now, the company has painstakingly rebuilt a replica of that very car.

Restoration experts at the Porsche Museum began with a 3D scan of the original No. 1 356 Roadster. However, the car has been damaged, modified and updated with modern parts many times in its seven decades, so they matched the 3D scans with photos and drawings of the original car to make as authentic a replica as possible.

The life-sized model was then sculpted out of a foam block, a common technique used in the early stages of car design, where fine adjustments to the form could be made. Once the dimensions were set, a hand-formed aluminum body was shaped using the original wooden bucks. The color was matched using a paint sample from under the original's dash, which subsequent repaints over the years did not cover up.

Though the replica has a full interior, including floor mats recreated using the same techniques as the original's, it won't have running gear. Steering components and a front axle from a Beetle will be used to roll the car to displays. All in all, it took the team eight months to complete the project.

The replica will now go on a world tour, with stops at the Porsche Museum ceremony in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany on June 8; the Goodwood Festival of Speed July 12-15, Porsche Rennsport Reunion at Laguna Seca September 27-30, and the Guangzhou International Motor Show in China on November 15-25, among others.