Back in the early years of Porsche, technology was very limited and cars were, of course, far simpler than they are today. This meant that they also typically had much less power than today’s cars. There is no better example of said simplicity than looking at a Porsche from the 1950s and comparing it to today’s Porsches.
The most beloved Porsche of the `50s is far and away the 1600 Sportster. This compact roadster was far from fast, but it was always regarded as a nimble a fun-to-drive car. The 356A Sportster of the late 1950s is actually given a lion’s share of the credit for revolutionizing the sports car realm and showed that a car doesn’t need to be high-powered to be fun to drive.
With only 2,922 Speedsters ever built, it has become a true collector’s item that garners a ton of attention and money, especially when one hits the auction block. Well, that is exactly what we have, as RM Auctions is selling off a 1957 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster in Monterey, California on August 17th and 18th, 2012.
Click past the jump to read all about this model being auctioned off.
We’ve always welcomed auto designers on our pages to show off their creations as a way of giving these guys some exposure in the industry. Hey, you never know who may be reading what these days and we like to think we’re doing our part in getting these designers’ feet in the door. This latest piece of work comes courtesy of Tigran Lalayan, a designer out of Armenia who showed us a rendering of his interpretation of the future Porsche 356.
Using the traditional engine composition of the 356 – behind the rear axle that’s paired with rear-wheel drive – Lalayan has added KERS technology to the system to be able to increase the car’s fuel efficiency. As for his overall design of the 356 Speedster, Lalayan stayed true to Porsche’s design language by instilling a number of elements traditionally found in Porsche models, including the low windshield, the oval headlights, the circular - albeit smaller - taillights, and the detachable rooftop.
Overall, Lalayan’s work is okay, if not just interesting. We’d like to see more of a front bumper because, on certain angles, the car looks more like a Volkswagen Beetle than a Porsche. But hey, Lalayan’s design is still much better than what our imaginations and rendering skills – or lack thereof – can come up with, so we have to give some credit where it’s due.
As you know Porsche is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and what better way to do that than by looking for the oldest models on US soil?
We are sure it took some time, but after many searches, Porsche was able to locate the oldest U.S. retailed model; a restored 1952 Strawberry Red 356 Cabriolet.
This find was a result of the My Porsche Classic Search where individuals from all over the U.S. were asked to submit their entries for the oldest Porsche. After sifting through hundreds of submissions, the winner was chosen due to its voyage over the ocean provided by Austrian businessman, Max Hoffman. Hoffman lived in New York and had brought over the first Porsche vehicles to the U.S. in 1950. One of those vehicles was the rare 1952 356 Cabriolet, which owner Dr. Robert Wilson of Oklahoma City, Okla. found in a salvage yard years later, and then completely restored.
Other Porsche in the running for this distinction were a 1965 911, a 1965 912, and a 1970 914.
Check out the list of the top 12 oldest Porsches, as well as the press release, after the jump.
Like a family fighting about where to go on vacation, the Volkswagen Group are having a little internal conflict of their own. This situation could endanger the future of the Porsche 356, the Audi R5, and the VW BlueSport.
The VW BlueSport was shown at the 2009 Detroit auto show and it got such good press that it was close to production. Yet, because of the infighting, the vehicle is on hold.
So, what’s going on? Well, Porsche doesn’t want the next-generation Boxster to lose sales because of the cheaper 356. Audi, who is having issues with R8 demand, doesn’t want a third sports car to be put between the new Audi TT and their supercar. While VW really likes the idea of the BlueSport, they are currently occupied with other areas, such as the next-generation Golf.
"Sports cars are not at the top of our priority list," states chairman Martin Winterkorn. "This applies in particular to sports cars that require the collaboration of Porsche, which is not even part of the VW Group yet."
Even the rich and famous are susceptible to a little car trouble once in a while. Goes to show that these people are all human after all.
The latest to fall victim to this embarrassing predicament is none other than Jay Leno. We all know him as the guy with about a gazillion cars in his garage. Apparently, owning that many cars makes it a little hard to keep tabs on maintaining all of them as made evident by his 1963 Porsche 356, which, according to the funny man himself, had a fuel pump malfunction as Jay was driving along Mulholland Drive.
Here’s a photo of him loading his precious Porsche on a tow truck. Tough luck there, eh, Mr. Leno.
Do you have an extra $275,000 in your pocket? If you do, Cooper Classics in New York has a ultra rare proposition for you: the sixth "first Porsche" is for sale. We are talking about a rare Porsche 356 prototype built in 1948 - the pre-production version of the later factory 356 cars.
It features an are one-off aluminum body and Metallic Green exterior paint with a Tan Interior.
It carries a unique provenance with ownership history including some of the major players in early Porsche history including M. Debrunner, president of VW AG Switzerland, and Ruprecht von Senger. Von Senger financed and established the early Porsche dealership network in Europe much like Max Hoffman would do later in the U.S. in 1953. The car was last registered in Switzerland in 1959. It was put into storage for some 20 years and eventually sold to Michael Rizzuto, a restoration specialist in the United States . Mr. Rizzuto sold the car in unrestored condition to film producer Monty Montgomery in 1988. Mr. Montgomery commissioned a full restoration and upon completion in 1992 it was exhibited at Pebble Beach.
Back before Dr. Ferdinand Porsche became associated with names like 911 and Carrera, he and his son Ferry were hard at work on a high performance hot rod VW known as the 356. The sports car was Porsche’s first production automobile, produced from 1948 thru 1965 and turned out to be a very successful vehicle. With the current trend of downsizing in search of more efficient lineups, Porsche is preparing to bring back the classic 356 as the automaker’s new entry level offering.
The new 356 will be based on the same steel and aluminum platform as the upcoming Audi R4, and contrarily to previous rumors won’t be as much of a bargain as we all thought, with prices expected to start around $55,000. The 356 is expected to be one of the first Porsche models to be fitted with a boosted boxer four cylinder engine, a unit that is currently under development. In an interview with AutoCar, Porsche’s marketing boss Klaus Bening said "That there is a clear trend towards downsizing, using smaller powerplants and supercharging. We will find our own conclusion to downsizing." The new Porsche 356 is expected to be unveiled sometime in 2012 and Porsche hopes to sell over 75,000 units per year.
The Porsche 356 is an impressive car. It was a re-engineered Volkswagen Beetle that launched the iconic Porsche brand. There are currently many imitators who make kits for the original 356, including a French company know as PGO. But just like its done with the Speedster, PGO has decided to go one step further and make a modern interpretation of the 356 coupe called the Hemera.
The base car is a Peugeot with a 140 hp 2.0-liter engine (the last original 356 Carrera Bs came with a 136 hp 2.0-liter engine.) Performance should be about 0 to 60 in 7 seconds and a 124 mph top speed. Sales should begin in 2009.
While it does carry some of the original shape of the 356, the Hemera’s best quality is probably the safety improvements. The 356 was built to 50s and 60s crash standards, which amounted to, well, nothing. So the tubular frame should provide some crash protection, which any protection is an improvement. Also important is that the Hemera’s engine is mid-mounted. The original 356 was a completely rear-engined car, which created a huge, sometimes dangerous, bias. In fact, many new Porsche 356 owners had to take courses on how to drive the car.
Whether or not Porsche decides to join the new roadster project, it looks likely that Volkswagen and Audi will team up for the project. VW will likely show its future version at this year’s Los Angles Auto Show. Audi’s concept will likely appear later as a replacement for the current TT.
Although the 356 would be an appropriate name for the new small offering from Porsche (the original 356 was Volkswagen-based and had it’s engine behind the driver,) it would be hard for Porsche to resurrect the 356 name. Not only is still-in-production 911 is considered a direct decedent of the 356, but the 356 is also a sacred name in Porsche circles because it is the car that started it all. So, Porsche should know better than to plunge its history to sell a few cars, right?
When you hear the phrase "cult cars," you might think of Ford Motor’s Mustang or General Motors’ Chevrolet Corvette, which have legions of devotees but are very common and still in production. Similarly, the Jeep Wrangler, Porsche 911, Mini Cooper and Volkswagen Beetle and New Beetle are so high profile and commonplace that their followings are merely large.
The vehicles from Forbes list of the coolest cult cars of all time were niche cars when they were new—supercars, race (...) > Full story