The Porsche 356 was Porsche's first production automobile and was produced from 1948 through 1965. This particular vehicle was at some point in the past meticulously restored at great expense, even down to the period correct carpet.

The 356 was created by Ferdinand Porsche. Like its ancestor, the Volkswagen Beetle (which Ferdinand Porsche senior had designed), the 356 was a four-cylinder, air-cooled, rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive car. While the 356's body was an original design by Porsche employee Erwin Komenda, its mechanicals were all derived from the Volkswagen. Early 356 prototypes were bodied in aluminum, but this proved impractical for production, and all subsequent 356's were made from steel. In fact those first models were hand made... the entire aluminum body was hand beaten over a large wooden buck and all the engine and drivetrain components were made without a machine shop.

The first 356, debuted on June 8, 1948, used many Volkswagen parts for manufacturing economy. Porsche quickly re-engineered and refined the car with a definite focus on performance, so much so, that by the late 1950's few parts were shared in common between the two marques. Little noticed at its unveiling in 1948, it wasn't long before the sunday racer crowd realised what an amazing machine the 356 was. By the early 1950s it had gained a great reputation among enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic for its exceptional aerodynamics and handling, as well as excellent build quality.

Convertibles like this amazing example were offered from the 356's inception. The 356 Speedster was introduced in late 1954 after Max Hoffman, the sole US importer of Porsches, advised the company that a lower-cost, open-top version could sell well in the American market. With its low, raked windshield (which could be removed for weekend racing), bucket seats, and minimal folding top, the Speedster was an instant hit, especially in Southern California. Production of the Speedster peaked at 1,171 cars in 1957, and it was replaced in 1959 by the Convertible D model.

To distinguish among the major revisions of the model, 356's are generally classified into a few major groups. 356's built through 1954, known as "Pre-A", are readily identifiable by their split or bent (center-creased) windshields. In 1955, with numerous small but significant changes, the 356A was introduced. Its internal factory designation, "Typ 1", gave rise to its designation "T-1" among enthusiasts. In mid-1957, a second revision of the 356A was produced, known as Typ 2 (or T-2). In 1959 more significant styling and technical refinements gave rise to the 356B, also known today as the T-5.

The 356's four-cylinder pushrod engine was later re-introduced in Porsche's "entry-level" 912 model, offered between 1965 and 1969 in response to customer complaints that the new 911 (at nearly twice the price of the 356) was too expensive. Although in some ways the 912 did reprise the 356's specifications, it would not be accurate to say the 912 was successor to the 356: when the decision was made to replace the 356, the 911 was the only car intended to carry the Porsche name forward. Rather, the 912 was an afterthought intended to supply the lower end of the market Porsche had created, which the larger, faster and heavier 911 could not do.

Check out the attention to detail on the immaculate twin carb engine. This vehicle is still a period correct 6v car and even features an original n.o.s. 6v generator in the above photo.

A very desirable collector car, 356s have appeared in a number of famous movies including Bullitt, the 48 Hours series, Top Gun and Doc Hollywood.

This is what a hot ride looked like from the driver's seat in 1956.


Horse Power @ RPM: 60BHP @ 4500rpm

Curb Weight: 1675 lbs.

0-60 time: 15.9 sec.

Top Speed: 99 mph

Displacement: 1582 Cc

Max torque RPM: 3200rpm

Transmission: 4-Speed Manual

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