Knut and Falk Reimann where born in Dresden in 1932. Before the war the two brothers had loved to travel around Germany, but sadly their country had split and they found themselves on the wrong side of the border for car enthusiasts. A brief visit to Berlin gave the two brothers a sneak peek into how the other half lived and their secret luxuries, one of which was the pre-’55 Porsche 356.

They left Berlin with a dream to own such a car but unfortunately no funds to buy one and a government that wouldn’t allow one to enter the DDR (German Democratic Republic) even if they did. What they did have was an idea…

Near their home lay an abandond Type82 Volkswagen Kubelwagen, which has chassis of a similar design to the VW Beetle. They could simply strip the Kubel body off and have the perfect base for their Porsche, so that’s just what they did. They took the remains of the Kubel to Linder coach-building company.

Still to this day it is not entirely clear what design they worked to – maybe magazine articles, brochures or their one personal photo – but whatever they had it was enough to make an ash buck to beat what was rumoured to be 15 damaged Ford truck hoods into the basic shape of a Porsche over a 1000 hour period.

The 25hp Kubelwagen engine just wouldn’t do. Although reliable enough to take soldiers to war, it was just too slow for a sports car. With gaps in the borders, the brothers ventured on a trip visiting places such as Lake Geneva, Italy, Nice, and eventually the Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen where the two brothers – proud of what they had built – planned to present it to Porsche with the hope of being able to acquire genuine Porsche parts.

Apparently the project was met with a certain hostility among the factory workers who saw the creation as a cheap Eastern Bloc knockoff that shouldn’t really be allowed to exist let alone be officially approved. However, after some negotiations they were awarded a tour of the factory and left behind a handwritten letter for the attention of Ferry Porsche. A few weeks later a letter arrived written by one of Ferry’s colleagues, notifying them that he didn’t share his staff’s view, and of his admiration of their efforts and how he saw the car as a tribute rather than a counterfeit imitation. Porsche even sent them free parts to complete the project.

Once complete, the brothers set out to drive across France, Belgium and Italy in an attempt to drum up enough attention to start building and selling a run of the cars. They named the car the “Porscheli” and attempted to trick the border control guards into thinking it was a genuine West German manufactured car by using false plates. The car performed well and the tour was successful.

The brothers went on to produce another 13 of the same car at Lindner, again being sold genuine Porsche components, until one unfortunate day in 1961 when the brothers were captured after planning to escape into the West and were sentenced to 17 months prison time each.

Knut and Falk Reimann never returned to the automotive business.