Porsche Vision 357 concept celebrates 75 years of the original 356

A 493bhp GT4 RS-derived powertrain underpins Porsche’s one-off homage of the 356

Porsche has revealed the Vision 357 concept to celebrate 75 years since the Porsche 356 debuted in 1948. The new concept is aesthetically inspired by the original, but built over the top of GT4 RS underpinnings, featuring a design that marries the classic proportions of the original 356 with contemporary elements, some of which we will see on future production models.

Anyone familiar with the tight, compact bodywork of the original 356 will instantly see a resemblance with the new concept. The low bonnet, raised headlight fairings, tapering cabin and diving roofline are all delicately reimagined, with more technical motorsport-inspired forms on the lower body around the sills, splitter and rear diffuser. 

Yet Porsche decided to give the windscreen and windows a more dramatic update, blacking out the A-pillars to give the glass a wraparound effect. This is an element that will be integrated into future Porsche models, having also appeared on other recent concepts like the Mission R

Another element that’s being developed to make the jump from concept to production is the lighting, which is finely integrated into the bodywork without obvious casings. The typical four-point light signature will continue, and is evidence that Porsche’s design team is thinking beyond the full-width light bar that it helped turn into such a staple of contemporary car design. 

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Things are a little more familiar under the skin of the Vision 357, featuring the 493bhp 4-litre flat-six powertrain and seven-speed PDK transmission from the Cayman GT4 RS. Ironically making this concept mid-engined, something reiterated by the RS-like intakes mounted in place of the rear three-quarter windows. 

The 20-inch wheels are made of magnesium, and feature carbonfibre disc covers designed to be a homage to the 356A and 356B which both featured unusually large wheel hubs over the top of the period drum brakes. These are wrapped in a set of Michelin Cup 2 R rubber.

Seventy-five years after the debut of his creation, we can only imagine how Ferry Porsche might feel knowing his small rear-engined sports car had evolved into an industry-defining model that’s still hugely influential in terms of its design and engineering. Thankfully for us, his legacy remains strong, as Porsche continues to lead the way in creating sports cars that rarely, if ever, disappoint. 

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