Porsche No.1 Type 356 spotted in Dubai...or not

Porsche No.1 Type 356 spotted in Dubai…or not

1948 Porsche 356 No 1 a
We don’t run around trying to get photos of ho-hum supercars. And we’ve never shown in real interest in classic cars either. But every once in a while, a car pops up that you just have to snap for posterity. This was one such car, which we later identified as a 1948 Porsche No.1 Type 356, spotted when we were out for a walk on one of Dubai’s artificial waterfronts.

1948 Porsche 356 No 1

Now, it turns out we had actually seen the Porsche 356 No.1 before, at the Porsche Musuem in Germany. After someone pointed us in the right direction, further wiki-research reveals that the Porsche 356/1 was the first real Porsche car created by Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche, with an aluminium body designed by Porsche employee Erwin Komenda in April 1948. This prototype was a two-seater open roadster with a mid-mounted, air-cooled flat-4 engine of 1,131 cc displacement that produced 40 horsepower. The original design, most of the mechanicals, including engine and suspension, were derived from the Volkswagen Beetle which Ferry’s father, also named Ferdinand Porsche, had designed.

Later, to cut down costs and to make space in the car for the rear seats, the engine was moved behind the rear axle for the production 356, and the rest, as they say, is history. Interestingly, the mid-engined prototype was registered in Germany in June 1948 as a fully-working car. It now resides in the museum as the only one of its kind.

Which means the car we’re seeing here is a very good replica, at least to untrained eyes like ours. It does not even have Porsche badges, and might actually be modified from the modern French-built PGO 356 Speedster that was sold in Dubai for a time, for all we know.

Update: Porschephile Phil McGovern tells us it is a replica built by Thunder Ranch that started life in the United States.

Photos by Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury.

What do you think?



  1. Author

    Car identified with help from Phil McGovern of crankandpiston.com

    • Mash, Which car model was this before the makeover to a Porsche 356 replica?

    • Author

      According to Phil, apparently it’s a fully custom job, as seen here.

      – Hand built recreation of the legendary 1st Porsche, the 356 Type 1
      – This labor of love is only 1 of 2 that exists today built by Thunder Ranch
      – Tube frame chassis with hand laid fiberglass/composite body
      – Heim/Ball joint linkage with torsion bar suspension
      – Aircraft Allen type tiedown
      – Wire harness plumbed through frame
      – Air cooled 1770 type 1 engine, Bosch alternator and twin carburetors, 1962 VW tranaxel four speed
      – Hand milled door handles, rear lights and more
      – Finished with European Debeers paint with clear coat

  2. I saw it in JLT on 17th Nov, was really cool !

  3. Beautiful catch.

  4. Such a pretty little car . Look at the back end , it makes the number plate look HUGE. A good replica , although doesn’t it look like the front end slants less than the real car ? Pretty none the less.

  5. komenda is a legend in germany. he was also the driving force behind the 550, etc.

    an absolute classic!

  6. This car was built by us “Vintage Replicar”. We are the only company in the world that makes the “356-1”. We can be reached at http://www.vintagereplicar.com or http://www.356-1.com

    Phil McGovern is incorrect and should do better research.

    Mark Gomez
    Carlsbad, CA

  7. Thunder ranch built car I casted the door handles out of aluminum made the gauge covers and wiring harness … and so I was the lead mechanic at the shop I also helped replicate porsche 904 on way to steal the fame mr gomez

  8. James is apparently dreaming or living in the past….. We at “Vintage Replicar” make all bodies, doors, hoods, chassis, exhaust, seats, allum door handles, center post, etc etc etc. We at Vintage Replicar is the only company that manufactures the original 356-1 replica. Give us a call to learn more. 356-1.com

    Carlsbad, CA

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