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Porsche 356 SL Liege-Rome-Liege 1951
2018 Techno Classica - Essen (D)

The first Porsche sports cars, named 356/2, were built in Gmünd in Austria between 1948 and 1950. These were handmade cars that featured lightweight aluminum bodies, unlike the later all steel production car bodies made in Stuttgart, Germany. In total there were 47 aluminum bodies made. Most were sold to customers but around 8 of them were kept by the factory and turned into racing cars.
Those racing cars were called 356 "Super Light" (SL). Up to 1955 they were entered in various races, most famously in the 1951 Le Mans 24 Hours race where the car scored a victory in its class. In 1952 a (privately entered) 352 SL enjoyed its first overall win in the Liege-Rome-Liege rally in the hands of Helmut Polansky. The car shown here seems to be one of the other cars entered in that event (the winning car had number 81).

Remarkable about these first coupes, often referred to as alu-coupes or Gmünd-coupes, is that they are slightly differently shaped from the steel production models. For instance, the roof is more narrow and the rear longer. That makes them easy to distinguish from replicas based on production cars. The SL version can be instantly recognized by the big 78 Liter fuel tank in front of the car.