Porsche 356

From Porsche press: At the Paris Motor Show in 1950 a decisive meeting took place between Professor Ferdinand Porsche and the U.S. automobile importer Maximilian E. Hoffman. Being an importer of a number of different European automobile brands on the American East Coast, Hoffman had his own dealership network at his disposal, as well as an unerring sense of what the upper class of America was looking for when it came to automobiles. Ferry Porsche and Hoffman concluded a deal soon afterwards for the delivery of 15 Porsches annually, the first three vehicles of which were shipped to the USA as early as October 1950.

When the first Porsche 356s arrived in the USA, Max Hoffman once again proved just how much marketing talent he had. In parallel with the presentation at his modern showroom on New York’s Park Avenue, he also handed over a Porsche 356 to the private racing driver Briggs Cunningham, who soon began delivering the first victories on the race track. The Porsche 356 rapidly became the insider tip in the American racing scene, which had a positive effect on more than the sales figures. The German sports car, that was fast but also suitable for daily use, also became a hit in Hollywood, and was a favorite among film stars, James Dean in particular. The combination of racing sports and Hollywood glamour helped the Porsche brand name to achieve its unique lifestyle image in America, something which also reflected back to Europe again.

Beyond that, Max Hoffman had recognized that there was a need for country-specific models if victory was going to be won in the long term on the hard-fought American market. Hoffman accordingly pressed for a particularly light and economical version, which from 1954 arrived on the market in the form of the 356 Speedster, based on the small series 356 America Roadster which had made its debut in 1952. With a basic price tag of 3,000 U.S. Dollars, the Speedster, with its Spartan fittings, became a great sales success in sunny California in particular.

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