Porsche 356 (1948-1965)

Porsche 356
© Stuttcars.com
1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965
356/2 Pre-A 356 A 356 B T5 T6 356 C
Roadster Roadster America Roadster Speedster Convertible D Roadster
Cabriolet Cabriolet
Coupé Coupé
Hardtop coupé Hardtop coupé
1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965
Windscreen (coupé/cabrio) Split Bent from mid year Curved Higher (coupe)
Front lid handle Tiny Small With hole from mid year Bigger, with crest Big, chromed
Bumpers Body-style US interim-style A-style US overriders from mid-year Split overriders Exhaust through overriders Bigger and higher
Front turn signal Inboard the headlights Below the headlights With 3-blade grilles With 2-blade grilles
Rear lamps Single Rectangular + round Two, round Tear shaped from mid-year
Tranmission Crash box Syncromesh
Wheels 16" wheels 15" wheels
Side rockers Inwards curved rocker panels Flat rocker panels
Lic. plate light Above license plate Below license plate Two lamps
Front lid Round front end Flatter Straight front end
Front fenders Curved shape viewing from side and from top Headlights higher, straight front end
Script on nose Porsche script on nose
Rear lid Single grille Two grilles
Brakes Drums Discs

Porsche engineering company had designed cars for other companies for a long time, but it was finally in 1948 that a first "Porsche" was made under the leadership of Ferdinand Anton Ernst "Ferry" Porsche, the son of Ferdinand Porsche. At that time Porsche company was located in Gmünd, Austria. Today we call the first mid-engined Porsche roadster as 356/1 (or 356 no. 1) to distinguish it from the rear-engined Porsches that followed. The 356/1 and the 356/2 cars built in Gmünd had aluminium bodies.

The production soon switched to Stuttgart in Germany. The series production didn't allow the use of handmade aluminium body panels, so, the cars were made of stamped steel panels. The first Stuttgart-built 356 have later been called as 356 Pre-A. These cars have either two separate windscreen glasses like the 356 built in Austria, or a sharply bent windscreen glass!

It was in 1953 that a racing car called America Roadster was built in small series. Considering it had an aluminium body, it is even more desirable than the 356 Speedster that followed it.

During the 356 A generation, a few cars were already fitted with the 4-cam Carrera (racing) engines in the size of 1.5-litre and 1.6-litre. Although the 356 had different "generations" up until 356 C, the biggest change to the body design happened during the 356 B generation. The earlier 356 B cars had a body called T5 and the later cars had a T6 body. The 356 C, too, had the T6 body. The main new thing with the 356 C were its disc brakes.

The flat-4 engines in the 356 evolved from single camshaft 1.1-litre to the 4-cam 2-litre Carrera 2 available for the 356 B T6 and the 356 C.

Although the 356 sales numbers were rising almost year by year, and a whopping 50% in 1964, the plans were already set and the 356 was dropped to make room for the series production of the 901 (911) in the end of 1964.

1948 Gmünd, Carinthia, Austria. Exterior designer Erwin Komenda, Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand Porsche, 356 no.1 (35 hp, 585 kg / 1290 lbs, 135 km/h / 84 mph).© Porsche
356 no.1: only one car was made with this design and with mid-engine© Porsche
356 no.1© Porsche
1948 Porsche 356/2 with aluminium body© Porsche
1948 Porsche 356/2 with aluminium body© Porsche
1948 Porsche 356/2 Cabriolet with aluminium body by Beutler© Porsche
1948 Porsche 356/2 Cabriolet with aluminium body by Beutler© Porsche
1951 Le Mans 24h: 356 SL (Super Light) #46 of Auguste Veuillet/Edmond Mouche scores 20th overall (and 1.1-litre class victory) with average speed of 73 mph/118 kmh compared to the winner's 93 mph/150 kmh. © Porsche
Aluminium bodied 356/2 Gmünd Coupé for Le Mans: 1.1L 46 hp, 640 kg / 1410 lbs. The restored car shown here has the racing numbers with wrong font.© Porsche
1952 Le Mans 24h: 356 SL #50 Auguste Veuillet/Edmond Mouche - 11th overall (1.1-litre class winner)© Porsche
1955, Merano, Italy. 356 no.1 on Porsche gathering. Look how modified it is 7 years after its birth - gone are the rear bumper and eye-shaped rear lamps. New are the round-shaped lamps and engine cover grille. And the paintwork, of course. Later in its life, the car was restored back to its initial look.© Porsche
1956 March: 10.000 Porsches made© Porsche
© Porsche
1958 356 A 1600 GS Carrera Hardtop, Ferry and F.A. Porsche© Porsche
1958 New York. 356 A, Ferry Porsche and his son, F.A. Porsche.© Porsche
Available for the late 356 A, the Porsche-badged wheel hub cap is here shown on a 356 B© Porsche
Ferry Porsche with 356 B T5 (produced 1960-1961)© Porsche
356 B T6 (1961-1962)© Porsche
Ferry in a 356 no.1© Porsche
1994 September 19. Ferry Porsche on his 85th birthday in a 1948 Porsche 356 no.1 which he had created.© Porsche

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