Home Porsche History Porsche - Origin of the Species

Classic & Sports Car - December 2012


It's hard to imagine that there's a Porsche stone unturned for respected marque historian Karl Ludvigsen. But, inspired by an early 356 - comedian Jerry Seinfeld's treasured Gmünd coupe 2-040 - the American historian set out to reveal the story of the landmark 1950s sports model. And top studio photographer Michael Furman provides a superb set of the historic survivor.

Ludvigsen's journey of fastidious research took him from factory archives to owners and specialists while unravelling this fascinating tale. This hefty, 344-page title covers the evolution of pre-war streamliners through to the early operations in the wooden sawmill in Gmünd, Austria. Putting Porsche's development in context, the book also covers VW Beetle-based specials and coach built variants.

Ludvigsen's writing style is a captivating joy to read, plus the main text is accompanied by fascinating panels including Robert Cumberford on styling, Miles Collier on preservation and Alex Finigan on ownership. The final pages are devoted to a complete reproduction of Porsche's trial reports on '040', and an early 1949 356 Betriebsanleitung (operating manual).

Review from and courtesy of Classic & Sports Car

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.

More about Karl Ludvigsen