Home Porsche History Porsche - Origin of the Species
Mesh New England Magazine - Fall 2012 - cover

Mesh New England Magazine - Fall 2012

Book review

"I invite you to join me as we turn back the clock to the late 1930s and the 1940s when the Porsche sports car DNA was created. That's how far back we need to go to grasp the influences, the ideas, the men and the machinery that made up the Type 356. Some of the saga will be familiar, but much will be new even to the most seriously shriven Porsche fanatic. It begins before World War II, when the Porsche men created the car the world knew as the Volkswagen . Crude and humble though it was, it gave them plenty of ideas." - Karl Ludvigsen

Within Jerry Seinfeld's renowned Porsche collection resides an unassuming yet extraordinary piece of Porsche history: Porsche Gmund coupe 356/2-040. Captured exclusively for this book in a series of evocative portraits by acclaimed automotive photographer Michael Furman, the 040's unsullied originality conveys with startling immediacy the combination of artistry, innovation and determination that went into its improbable creation. This cornerstone of the Seinfeld collection serves as the inspiration for Porsche - Origin of the Species, an in-depth exploration by the eminent automotive historian Karl Ludvigsen into the specific influences and circumstances that brought forth the first Porsche-badged sports cars.

How and when did the people of the Porsche firm find themselves in a sawmill in Gmund? What was the influence on the 356 of the cars and engines built by Porsche before and during the war? How and why was the first 356 shaped as it was? What was the real relationship between the tube-framed Type 356 roadster and the first 356/2 coupes? Questions like these deserve answers because the resulting DNA is so powerful, so robust, that it still influences the shape and style of Porsches well into the twenty-first century.

Karl Ludvigsen, author of the award-winning Porsche: Excellence Was Expected and Ferdinand Porsche - Genesis of Genius, tackles these questions and more in Porsche - Origin of the Species. The saga that emerges encompasses mechanical revelations, human drama and the turmoil of world war. This book will appeal to all car enthusiasts who are eager to know what events really ignited the spark from which all other Porsches evolved.

Ludvigsen's research into the origins of the Type 356 overturned many longheld beliefs about this crucial period in the creation of the car that established the classic fingerprint of the Porsche sports car for all time.

Printed in lavish full color and richly illustrated, it will appeal to all car enthusiasts who are eager to know what really happened at the turning points of Porsche's history.

Article from and courtesy of Mesh New England Magazine - Fall 2012

Karl Ludvigsen
Karl Ludvigsen

In addition to his motor industry activities as an executive (with GM, Fiat and Ford) and head of a consulting company, Karl Ludvigsen has been active for over 50 years as an author and historian. As an author, co-author or editor he has some four dozen books to his credit. Needless to say, they are all about cars and the motor industry, Karl's life-long passion.

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