The 356SL or 'Sport Leicht' is the original Oldspeed race car.
Porsche produced only 7 of these super light race cars, based on the aluminum Bodied Gmünd cars. They used a heavily modified VW motor and the displacement was lowered to 1086cc (73.5 bore x 64 stroke) so they were eligible for the popular and highly competitive 1.1 litre racing class. Equipped with high compression heads and twin Carburetors, the Porsche power-plant produced 40bhp,a full 15 bhp more than the Volkswagen spec.
The first 3 SL cars were built in 1950 when Porsche moved back to the Stuttgart suburb of Zuffenhausen.Two were entered for the 1951 24 Hours Le Mans. However, an accident during one of the practice session decimated the Porsche entry to just one. The other one (pictured above) completed the race 20th overall and more importantly 1st in class in the hands of French drivers Auguste Veuillet and Edmond Mouche. The two drivers repeated that class victory in the next race. It was the start of a love affair between Porsche and the legendary 24 Hours Le Mans.