Rasheed Bisiriyu and Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi
As part of the 70th anniversary of its first vehicle, Porsche has released a short touching video to say thank you to its customers and fans around the world.
The video release coincided with the celebration in Lagos of the 70-year old Porsche 356 by the brand’s enthusiasts and fans.
According to a report by an online auto journal, motor 1.com, the video features people born in the same years in which the brand unveiled some of its most important models.
Porsche’s existence began in the 1930s, when Ferdinand Porsche set up a shop in Stuttgart, Germany with the name Dr. Ing. Porsche GmbH.
The 356 was created by Ferdinand ‘Ferry’ Porsche (son of Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the German company), who established the company with his sister, Louise.
The report says, “The first 356 was engineered by Porsche’s son, Ferry Porsche, and was a hand-built prototype made of aluminium. It was developed using mostly Volkswagen components and featured a lightweight, hand-beaten aluminium body over a tubular steel chassis.
“A total of 52 examples of this sports car were crafted over the course of a year in a small garage in the city of Gmund, Austria. Eventually, the company moved to Stuttgart.”
In Lagos, Porsche enthusiasts reportedly defied the rain as they converged on the Porsche Centre to pay tribute to the brand’s 70-year storied past, marking the day Porsche 356 was registered as an automobile.
The event tagged ‘Sports car together day’ attracted a cluster of Porsche drivers in Nigeria who came to participate in the drive activity held to commemorate the birthday of the iconic brand.
A statement by Stallion Autos, the brand’s representative in Lagos, also revealed how the Porsche owners later journeyed in a convoy of approximately 88 kilometres to the Epe Resort & SPA – a tourist suburb on the outskirt of Lagos, where the brand enthusiasts were hosted to a sumptuous breakfast.
It stated that it was the first time Porsche iconic sports’ car owners were meeting to share experiences and be feted in union with the six-year-old Porsche dealership.
“Majority of the drivers were also for the first time putting to the test the potency of their iconic cars at a seeming racing encounter that reaffirmed Porsche’s supremacy on the road,” it stated.
The Head of Sales and Marketing, Porsche Centre Lagos, Anurag Shah, said, “This special anniversary exhibition was held to commemorate the June 8 1948 birthday of the brand when the first Porsche prototype with chassis number 356-001 received its general operating permit.”
He said the event was undoubtedly unique to both the dealership and Porsche drivers, who were meeting for the first time to share rare experiences and discuss salient values and versatility of their cars.
Shah said, “The cars drove effortlessly in flooded roads, which ordinarily wouldn’t have inspired the drivers – but thanks to the anniversary exhibition, which allowed the dealership to also instruct the drivers of the various capabilities of their Porsche vehicles.
“In other words, we didn’t only celebrate the birth of this iconic sports car, but we also reassured the owners that their vehicles can be in everyday situation.”
One of the drivers was quoted to have said, “This is the first time ever I will be putting to the test the agility of my Porsche 911,” which had barely gone pass 3,000km in four years.”
The celebration was said to have continued in the afternoon at the Porsche Centre showroom after the drivers returned from the exhilarating drive.
A Porsche fan and owner of a 911 Carrera, Patrick Mgbenwelu, cut the anniversary cake, and while congratulating the brand at 70, praised the Porsche Centre Lagos for taking the marque to a deserving height in Nigeria.
Ferry Porsche described the thinking behind the development of the 356 in an interview with a magazine in September 1972 thus: “I had always driven very speedy cars. I had an Alfa Romeo, also a BMW and others. By the end of the war, I had a Volkswagen Cabriolet with a supercharged engine and that was the basic idea. I saw that if you had enough power in a small car it is nicer to drive than if you have a big car which is also overpowered. And it is more fun. On this basic idea we started the first Porsche prototype. To make the car lighter, to have an engine with more horsepower…that was the first two seater that we built in Carinthia (Gmünd).”
Porsche was said to have refined the car with a focus on performance. The first 356s sold primarily in Austria and Germany. It took Porsche two years, starting with the first prototype in 1948, to manufacture the first 50 automobiles.
By the early 1950s the 356 had gained some prominence among enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic for its aerodynamics, handling, and excellent build quality.
Increasing success with its racing and road performance brought Porsche orders to over 10,000 units in 1964. And by the time 356 production ended in 1965, about 76,000 had been produced, according to the automaker.
The auto firm stated that the 356 later inspired icons including the Porsche 550 and Porsche 911, and without the 356, there would be no Mission E, the automaker’s latest leap into the future.
The range of sports cars today is said to have illustrated with a Panamera Turbo SE-Hybrid Sport Turismo, which, as the flagship of the model line, demonstrates the possibilities of alternative drive technology in a virtual reality scene.
Giving some features of the first Porsche model, the German sports car manufacturer said under its bonnet was a 1.3-litre VW-sourced four-cylinder engine, mounted ahead of the rear axle.
Ferry Porsche increased the motor’s cylinder bore, raised its compression, and added twin carburetors to boost the power from the factory 25 brake horsepower to an impressive 40bhp.
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