It was Porsche's first production automobile. Production of this mighty legend started in 1948 at Gmünd, Austria, where approximately 50 cars were built. By the early 1950s the 356 had gained some renown among enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic for its aerodynamics, handling, and excellent build quality. The class win at Le Mans in 1951 was a factor. The date was 23 June 1951, and sixty race cars lined up at 16h00 for the start of the nineteenth running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race.
Despite the difficult conditions in the race, the number 46 Porsche gave an exemplary account of itself, and over the 24-hour period the car ran without a hitch crossing the line in 20th place overall and first in the 751-1100cc class. Having covered a distance of 2840.65km, the French pairing of Auguste Veuillet and Edmond Mouche became the first racing drivers to successfully bring a Porsche race car across the finish line in the Le Mans 24-Hour race, averaging 118.36km/h for the distance. That year, just 30 cars out of the original 60 starters finished the race, as contestants endured rain for two-thirds of the race.