This documentary was created to showcase the engineering that went into each new Porsche in the 1960s, it was specifically made for the American audience as a way to introduce Porsche to many Americans who were unfamiliar with the marque.
The film opens with none other than motoring legend Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche welcoming the viewer, the film then proceeds to follow what is essentially the full production line of each 356 starting with flat steel sheets and following it through cutting, stamping, and welding before heading off to the paint shop.
The film was likely made in the early 1960s as it references the Super 90 engine that was in production during this time. The narrator frequently talks up Porsche engineering and attention to detail, presumably to convince viewers that Porsche cars were superior to those being built in the United States – which was true in some regards but perhaps not all.
It’s important to remember when watching that this documentary was made at a time before the introduction of the Porsche 911 and before the overwhelming majority of Porsche’s motor racing successes. The average American of 1960 would have been far less familiar with the company than the average American of 2020, however by the end of the 1960s this would have all begun to change in a big way.
Watching the process of the Porsche 356 body being built is fascinating, as you may expect there was far less concern with health and safety, and almost no one is wearing eye protection, hard hats, or breathing protection (in the paint shop). The process of building each engine is similarly interesting, this was long before the invention of CNC machines and robots of course, and the Porsche factory workers machine parts using simple power tools.
Over the course of production from 1948 to 1966 there were over 76,000 examples of the Porsche 356 built. It was the model that launched the company and laid the groundwork for the Porsche 911 which would replace it and remain in production from 1963 to the present day.
You can click here if you’d like to read more about this history of the Porsche 356.
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