Porsche’s first sports activities automobiles had aluminum physique panels, nevertheless it was nature’s personal light-weight materials that made their iconic form attainable.
The Porsche 356 had bodywork that the place the panels had been hammered and hand rolled into form, and a picket body mannequin was used to make sure all the things lined up.
That body nonetheless exists, and is in comparatively good situation. It is on the Porsche Automuseum in Gmünd, Austria, the place the first Porsche manufacturing automobiles had been accomplished earlier than manufacturing moved to Stuttgart, Germany.
The body is typically known as Holzklopfmodell, which is German for “hammered picket body,” however the body itself wasn’t hammered. Moderately, it served as a mannequin the manufacturing unit staff used for shaping and becoming of the aluminum physique panels. It was a time-consuming course of that typically required a number of makes an attempt to get a door or fender to completely match the body, which was the precise form of a 356 physique. The method took at the very least 90 hours, in keeping with Porsche.
Porsche 356/2 coupe manufactured in Gmünd, Austria
Handmade bodywork was primarily a function of the earliest Austrian-built Porsches. Beginning in 1948, Porsche constructed 52 automobiles in Gmünd, together with 44 coupes and eight convertibles, plus between eight and 10 tremendous gentle (SL) our bodies that had been accomplished by Porsche’s racing division in Stuttgart between 1951 and 1952.
When manufacturing shifted to Germany in 1949, Porsche switched to metal our bodies and mechanized manufacturing processes, leaving hand-formed aluminum for specials just like the 16 light-weight 356 America Roadsters. A brand new picket body ultimately changed the unique.
As a result of metal is far tougher than aluminum, Porsche began utilizing presses to fabricate physique panels, which additionally allowed it to provide automobiles at a sooner price. Immediately, the 356 wooden body stays as a reminder of the automaker’s early days.