Modern automobile manufacturers would tell you – if you ran the Porsche history past them without putting a name to it – that it couldn’t possibly be true. A father and son leave allied prisons after WWII and set up a small design firm. One of their projects carries the design project number 356; and in 1947, 356-001, an automotive prototype, is completed. The following year sees a production model go on sale, to be followed by the 356A, the 356B and the 356C, covering a period of 19 years and 76,313 examples. Even that doesn’t tell the whole story, as these simple 356 designations mask a myriad of different design concepts and models: the 1100 Coupe and Cabriolet; 1300 and 1500 Coupe and Cabriolet; 1500S Cabriolet; the America Roadster; S (Sport) versions for every model; Speedsters; Carrera and Carrera GS Coupes, Cabriolets and Spyders; 1600 versions; the 1600GTS; the 1600S-75 range including a Karmann Hardtop; 1600S-90… and on and on… dozens of improved versions based on a common theme of quality and in-depth design.
The Porsche 356A, of which our featured car is an example, first appeared at the Frankfurt Show in 1955 after 7,627 of the first 356 models had been produced. These early cars had proved successful not only as a great German postwar sports car, but also enjoyed success in many road races and rallies. Perhaps of equal importance to the model’s success was the fact that it had been welcomed with open arms in the USA as an alternative to the many English sports cars which had found their way to the American shores.