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Porsche updates Ferry’s dream car 75 years later

Somewhere Ferry Porsche is smiling.

Seventy-five years after Ferry’s dream car — the iconic Porsche 356 No. 1 — was unveiled, the German sports car brand revealed a modern version of the classic dubbed the Vision 357. Porsche revealed the concept car in Berlin at Volkswagen Group’s “DRIVE” Forum.

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Porsche Vision 357 (right) is a modern interpretation of the first Porsche.

The Style Porsche Team worked to formulate what the automaker’s founder’s “perfect” sports car might look like today. The Vision 357 commemorates the automaker’s first production vehicle, the 356 and uses the 718 Cayman GT4 RS’ platform while echoing a number of the original 356 No. 1 Roadster’s timeless design cues. 

Porsche didn’t quite keep the inverted-bathtub shape of the original 356, but the uninterrupted, swooping lines from the headlights to the engine bay found on the 356 are present on the Vision 357. Wide and slim fenders paired with rounded headlights too have made their way to this 21st-century design study in addition to smooth, clean bodywork. 

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Michael Mauer, Vice President of Style Porsche, says the 357 Vision concept car “is an attempt to combine the past, present and future with coherency, featuring proportions that are reminiscent of its historical archetype and details that visualize the outlook for the future.”

This means most design cues of the 357 can also be present in a past 356 model. The dark A-pillars that blend together the windows and rounded windshield are elements introduced midway through the first generation 356. Even the color is reminiscent of vintage Porsches. Neutral colors were popular with early 356 examples which is the sole reason why the Vision 357 is presented in Ice Grey Metallic and Grivola Grey Metallic. 

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The Vision 357 is more than a nod to the 356 No. 1 as a series of decals are an ode to Porsche’s lengthy motorsport history. A prominent “75” racing number sits atop the hood and rear fenders. Magnesium wheels with carbon-fiber hubcaps bridge the gap between traditional wheels and the aerodiscs of racecars from the 1970s and ‘80s. 

Vision 357 designers certainly had fun, detailed by the comic-style “Air” decals placed near the intakes behind the side windows. A Tyrannosaurus rex has also been placed along the side sills to symbolize how a gas-powered concept car in a sea of electric vehicles makes the car seem “like a dinosaur.”

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Porsche’s design team strays from the 356 No. 1, however, with widened fenders, side skirts, and the front spoiler that allow for peak track competence. Sustainable materials, namely natural fiber-reinforced plastic (NFRP), are present throughout the Vision 357 and cameras are used in place of traditional mirrors. These design aspects are reminiscent of the 718 Cayman GT4 RS and help propel the concept car into the 21st century. 

The Vision 357’s 4.0-liter, naturally aspirated flat-six producing some 500 horsepower is one of the few things directly taken from the 718 Cayman GT4 RS. This 493-horsepower beast of an engine would be designed to burn sustainable eFuels if it were to reach the production line thereby showing Porsche’s dedication to the internal combustion engine. 

Porsche will have the Vision 357 on display at Volkswagen Group’s “DRIVE” Forum and will be through mid-February. If you can’t make it to the Berlin display, Porsche plans on showing the concept car at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, starting March 10th as well as many international events throughout 2023.

Mason Bloom is a reporter for TheWeeklyDriver.com. When he is not writing about industry news, new car reviews or covering live motorsport events, he is a sophomore at Aptos High School on the California central coast.

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