Porsche reveals Vision 357 on GT4 RS platform as homage to Type 356
Seventy-five years ago, on 8th June 1948, 356 No.1 became the first automobile bearing the Porsche name to receive its general operating permit. This marked the birth of the sports car brand we know and love. The company is kicking off celebrations during this special anniversary year with the Porsche Vision 357, a new design study paying tribute to the 356. Liberated from regulations applying to implementation of a series model, the Style Porsche Team worked on expressions of future design philosophy, whilst staying true to 356 cues. The fundamental concept is reflective of the interplay between tradition and innovation: what would the 356 look like if it was in production today? Built on the technology platform of the near 500bhp 718 Cayman GT4 RS, the Vision 357 is star of Porsche’s special anniversary exhibition, hosted at the Volkswagen Group’s DRIVE Forum in Berlin, which opened in January. The Vision 357 will be presented at South by Southwest in Austin from 10th March 2023 and at further international events during the course of the year.
“Thinking out loud about the future is one of the core missions of Style Porsche. Our design studies are the pool of ideas which will feed into the Porsche production cars of tomorrow,” says Michael Mauer, Vice President of Style Porsche. “We are perpetually on the conceptual journey into the future of mobility. Time and again, our brand’s history serves as a source of inspiration. Taking a look back at our tradition when developing a new concept car is not as paradoxical as it might seem. Creative freedom is also important — this is where valuable ideas can emerge unfettered, ones that help us imagine our consistent design philosophy in innovative new directions.”
The Vision 357’s windscreen sharply wraps around the A-pillars. As was the case with the car’s historic forebear, Porsche is pushing the boundaries of glass production — early 356s had a split windscreen with a bar down the middle, but the split design was replaced by a one-piece ‘bent’ windscreen for 1952.
The functional details are integrated and underpin the sculptural character of the Vision 357. This includes the concealed door openers by the side windows and tail lights, which sit behind a patterned array of points in the bodywork. Another nod to the 356 is the grille pattern at the rear, in which the third brake light is integrated.
Like all current Porsche models, the Vision 357 features a four-point light signet at the front. The round design of the headlights is also a throwback to the characteristic lights of the 356. There are also parallels in the paintwork — the two-tone Ice Grey Metallic and Grivola Grey Metallic is a tribute to the various Porsche grey tones popular in the 1950s. The twenty-inch centre-lock magnesium wheels are equipped with carbon-fibre aero discs. Visually, they also recall a legendary Porsche wheel — the 356 A and 356 B with drum brakes rode on rims with the notably large bolt circle of 205mm.
Some 78,000 examples of the 356 had been manufactured by the time of model discontinuation in 1965, but there will be only one Vision 357. Happy birthday, Porsche!