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Porsche Vision 357 concept celebrates 75 years of Porsche sports cars

One-off concept inspired by original Porsche 356 No. 1 is German brand's 75th birthday present to itself

To mark the 75th anniversary of the first car to wear the Porsche badge and the birth of the sports car brand, the German firm has designed this Vision 357 concept, a birthday present to celebrate the milestone, and a reimagining of the original 356 No. 1 for the modern era.

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Based on the firm's 718 Cayman GT4 RS, Porsche's Vice President Style, Michael Mauer, said: “We created a very special birthday present in the form of the Porsche Vision 357, one which uses the 356 as a basis to underscore the significance of our design DNA.”

He added that “The concept car is an attempt to combine the past, present and future with coherency, featuring proportions that are reminiscent of its historical archetype and details that visualise the outlook for the future”, the Vision 357's cab-backward stance, despite the underlying mid-engined architecture, being a key element of the overall look.

The passenger compartment is narrow, accentuating the Vision 357's muscular rear haunches, the nose long and low, and the roofline plunges at the rear meeting vertical grille. Combined with a windscreen that wraps around the A-pillars, it evokes the look of the 356 with a modern twist.

The front wheel arches feature GT3 RS-style cutaways at the rear edges, while the 357's side sills are made from natural fibre-reinforced plastic, the same material used on Porsche's Mission R electric racer concept. The tailpipe trim is made from titanium with a blue-ish finish, while the inside is ceramic.

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Auto Express asked Mauer if the concept car's styling details or design ethos previewed future Porsche production models and were told; “We're given the freedom to think how we would like to develop our design language and when we work on something like this there are design elements that might make it into the future. 

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“On this car I'd like to refer to the headlamps and the tail-lamps, where we're throwing one possible vision of how we could further develop the light signature. We always would like to integrate elements and are hoping with new technologies that we could do something like this.”

The Vision 357's ring-shaped headlights ape the original 356's round units but are concealed within the bodywork here for an even smoother look, just as with the concept's tail-lights.

Mauer told us, “We thought about this 75 years, what was the first car, let's do something where you could easily see the connection to the 356 without being too retro. We decided let's do it on the combustion platform. If you look at the A-post, things like the camera-based mirrors, we took a lot of freedom, but the proportions are very much close to reality.”

While the Vision 357 uses the screaming 493bhp 4.0-litre naturally aspirated flat-six engine fed by air ducts in the concept's rear windows, as per the GT4 RS, Mauer said that the 357 doesn't drive:

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“It is just a model. You have to push it!” adding that it's the little details that hint at an idea of what could be underneath. These include dinosaur stickers on those air inlets, an example of Porsche poking fun at itself and the choice of powertrain. The concept has no interior and is an exterior design study only.

The German brand has form making limited-run versions of some of its concepts however, including a 77-strong production run of its modern GT2 RS-based 935 lookalike. However, Mauer says that the Vision 357 will not make it:

“Will you ever see this car on the road? I recommend you should polish the crystal ball to see if you can see anything. Whenever we do a concept it always has a pretty realistic base and they're not just for the sake of doing something, a realistic technology basis. It would be possible, but this is really born as a birthday present, so I would love to have this car as well, but so far, no.”

The Vision 357 made its debut at a special exhibition called “75 Years of Porsche sports cars” at the Volkswagen Group 'Drive' forum in Berlin, which is open to the public from 27 January 2023, with the Porsche Vision 357 exhibited until mid-February.

Now take a look of our breakdown of the best supercars currently on sale...

 

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Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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