Motorsport has been a part of Porsche’s history right from the start. Before the production lines where set up in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, around 50 examples of the 356 aluminium coupe were produced in the Austrian town of Gmünd between 1949 and 1951. In 1951 these aluminium coupes became the basis for Porsche’s entry into the world of automotive racing. Porsche 356 Light Metal Coupe had a self-supporting steel body with aluminium outer panelling. The length of the car was 3860mm and it had a wheel base of 2100mm. The car’s weigth was 640 kg. It had a torsion-bar suspension and hydraulic drum brakes. The air-cooled, four-cylinder twin-valve induction engine had a displacement of 1488cc and produced 70 horsepower at 5000rpm. With the four-speed gearbox it could reach a top speed of 162 km/h. The car was specially modified for racing. The tank capacity was increased to 78 litres by moving it further forward and shaping it to fit around the spare tyre. In order to accelerate refuelling, the filler neck protruded in the centre through the front lid.
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