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Porsche 356 B 1600 GS/GT Carrera Coupe (1960 -1961)

Just 49 356 B GS/GTs Produced. Built from lightweight materials and had Porsche’s most powerful racing engine of the time

1960 – 1961 Porsche 356B/1600 GS/GT Carrera Coupe – Ultimate Guide

While all 356 Carreras are rare and desirable cars, the 1961 B Carrera GT is a very special animal indeed. Built from lightweight materials and sporting Porsche’s most powerful racing engine of the time, they were in a different league to the most highly specified road car that the Stuttgart factory then produced. Porsche produced only 49 of the 356B Carrera versions for 1960/61 and all were coupes. Many were painted Silver.

Going back to 1955 Porsche decided to do something about their power disadvantage and installed the newly designed four cam “Carrera” racing engine from the 550 Spyder into the 356 as a top of the range Carrera model. A small number of these cars were prepared by the factory for racing and bore the now famous moniker “Carrera GT”. This tinkering continued each year.

With the arrival of the 356B, Porsche made very few Carrera versions specifically for racing. The 1960 and 1961 Carrera GT version of the 356 B boasted a long list of modifications over the standard road car. These were fitted with the lightweight GT trim and had six characteristic louvers on either side of the central engine vent. 

To reduce weight, a spartan interior was fitted with bucket racing seats and simple door panels. To save weight even further, the doors, engine lid and bonnet were made from aluminium rather than steel and the side windows were Plexiglass. The suspension was modified, the front brakes were larger, twin front oil coolers were fitted and the wheels had aluminium rims riveted to steel centers. From the outside, the GT model looked similar to the standard car, but featured lightweight bumpers without guards, aluminum hubcabs.

The four cam engine had been evolved in both its design and capacity and offered 115 hp from its 1600cc. The engine was a Type 692/3 four cam, while for 1961 these engines were updated to 692/3A specification  that bumped power to around 135 bhp. One of the right-hand drive cars was sent to Britain and its owner Dick Stoop let Autocar test the model. They reached a 1/4 mile time of 16.2 seconds, 0-60 of 9.0 seconds and 0-100 mph in 26.6 seconds.

At the 1960 Tour de Corse, Herbert Linge and Paul-Ernst Strähle won the challenging Corsica rally in a 356B Carrera 1600 GS/GT. They ran from 5th to 8th November 1960.

Specs & Performance

type Racing Car
production years 1960 – 1961
production 49
price $ $5,550
engine Air-Cooled Boxer-4
position Rear, Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
power 85.8 kw / 115 bhp
bhp/weight 127.78 bhp per tonne
curb weight 900 kg / 1985 lbs