The Porsche 356 is a luxury sports car which was first produced by Austrian company Porsche Konstruktionen GesmbH (1948–1949), and then by German company Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche GmbH (1950–1965). It was Porsche‘s first production automobile. Earlier cars designed by the Austrian company include Cisitalia Grand Prix race car, the Volkswagen Beetle, and Auto Union Grand Prix cars.
The 356 is a lightweight and nimble-handling, rear-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-door available both in hardtop coupé and open configurations. Engineering innovations continued during the years of manufacture, contributing to its motorsports success and popularity. Production started in 1948 at Gmünd, Austria, where approximately 50 cars were built. In 1950 the factory relocated to Zuffenhausen, Germany, and general production of the 356 continued until April 1965, well after the replacement model 911made its autumn 1963 debut. Of the 76,000 originally produced, approximately half survive.
The last revision of the 356 was the 356 C introduced for the 1964 model year. It featured disc brakesall around, as well as an option for the most powerful pushrod engine Porsche had ever produced, the 95 hp (71 kW) „SC“. Production of the 356 peaked at 14,151 cars in 1964, the year that its successor, the new 911, was introduced to the US market (it was introduced slightly earlier in Europe). The company continued to sell the 356 C in North America through 1965 as demand for the model remained quite strong in the early days of the heavier and more „civilized“ 911.
Porsche designers decided to build the 356‘s air-cooled pushrod OHV flat-four around the engine case they had originally designed for the Volkswagen Beetle. They added new cylinder heads, camshaft, crankshaft, intake and exhaust manifolds and used dual carburetors to more than double the VW‘s horsepower. While the first prototype 356 had a mid-engine layout, all subsequent 356 engines were rear-mounted. The four-cam „Carrera“ engine appeared in late 1955 as an extra cost option on the 356 A, and remained available through the 356 model run.
The 356 has always been popular with the motor press. In 2004, Sports Car International ranked the 356 C tenth on their list of top sports cars of the 1960s. It remains a highly regarded collector car.
2dr Cabriolet // 2dr Coupe
4-cyl. 1582cc/95hp 2x2bbl
Curb Weight: 1980 lbs. // Vehicle Length: 158 in. // Wheel Base: 82.7 in.