In the early 1950s, the Porsche 356 is equipped with its first luggage rack.
Peace on the continent creates the space for dreams, and millions of people long for nothing more fervently than the chance to take their own car on a road trip. Car ownership is on the rise; affordable and practical vehicles are in demand. Many make their way down to the Mediterranean in a Volkswagen—in a Beetle, to be precise.
With a large family and loads of luggage, inexpensive camping trips are all the rage. And when the luggage space under the front lid and behind the back seat isn’t enough, the suitcases are simply strapped to the engine decklid in the back—or perhaps skis for winter vacations in the Alps, which are becoming increasingly popular as well.
In 1950, promise is in the air in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen as well: Ferry Porsche starts series production of the first five hundred all-steel units of the Porsche 356. No one, as yet, dares to dream of the worldwide success his bold vision of a sports car will one day achieve. The Reutter company manufactures the bodies. In its apprentices’ workshop, located in the western part of Stuttgart, a modicum of freedom is being welded together: the first luggage rack for the 356, which makes its debut in 1953. Anyone who can set off on a road trip in the first Porsche production model with equipment like this is sure to be the object of admiring glances.
Two years will pass before series production of a substantially enhanced luggage rack comes to fruition. Nearly twice as large and equipped with clever fasteners, the prospectus for the successor model strikes a confident tone: “A sports car is not a Pullman limousine! Yet now you can carry all the luggage you need or your sporting goods for longer trips.”
An example of the first Reutter luggage rack for the pre-A Porsche 356, the first step on the long journey to today’s TÜV-certified roof box from Porsche Tequipment, was recently discovered in France. A thoroughly nondescript frame—and yet a remarkable artifact symbolizing seventy years of road trips with Porsche.