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Meet the First Car Porsche Took Racing: a 1951 Porsche 356 SL Gmünd Coupe

Submitted by on November 18, 2016

Porsche 356 SL Gmund

This 1951 Porsche 356 SL Gmünd Coupe is the first car that Porsche as a company officially entered into competition. In its first outing, it won its class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

To say that it’s significant may be underselling things a bit.

In 1950 Porsche were invited to race in the following year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans by the race’s founder and director – Charles Faroux. They went back to their stock of aluminum-bodied cars to develop, test and prepare a set for competition.

Ultimately two of the cars would make it onto the entry list of the 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans. One car, #47 driven by Rudolph Sauerwein and Robert Brunet, crashed during night practice and the other, this car would see the race through to the end.

#46 finished 19th, driven by Edmond Mouche and Auguste Veuillet. It also won the 1100cc class, setting Porsche on a path of sportscar racing glory that’s yet to be matched.

This video, from Jay Leno’s Garage, goes into its history and restoration in depth before taking it out onto the open road for a drive. It’s full of great stories and fascinating insights, and well worth a watch.

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