Porsche 356

Porsche 356

While the three Type 64 cars ultimately were little more than an engineering exercise, it provided Porsche with the knowledge it needed to create the Type 356 . The body shape was an extension of what Porsche began with the Type 64, and the teardrop shape still looks attractive to this day.

The birth of the Type 356 was not an easy one. With World War II raging, and Allied forces carpet bombing large portions of Germany, Porsche packed up and escaped to Austria. Porsche set up shop in an old sawmill in Gmund, Austria which is why the car carries its odd title.

Despite having packed up and moved to a sawmill, the 356 was still built using some of the most advanced materials and engineering possible. The bodies were all hand-hammered from sheet aluminum, and the chassis was a very stiff pressed-steel unit that was formed into a single unit with the floor. You could almost think of it as an early monocoque.

Beyond the futuristic production, the 356 featured full-independent suspension in all four corners. With that suspension setup and its lightweight, the Gmund Coupes were natural-born racers.

The car you see here is 356/2-017. It is number 17 to be produced and one of the oldest known living examples. While in Gmund, Porsche only managed to create a total of 50 to 52 Gmund Coupes (numbers are unreliable as to exact production). After those first 50, or so, cars were produced, Porsche returned to Stuttgart, ending the production of “Gmund” 356 models. Porsche still continued to make the 356 after it returned to Stuttgart and eventually produced around 76,000 of the cars in total.

One of the most notable and memorable of the early Porsche cars is the Speedster . This car actually came into existence at the insistence of U.S. distributor Max Hoffman. He was able to convince Ferdinand Porsche that there was a market for a “stripper” car. A stripper is essentially a barebones Roadster that could be easily converted into a racing specification car without too much trouble. The low level of standard equipment also kept prices low, leaving you more budget for race gear and modifications.

This particular Black Speedster here carries a particularly special heritage. It was owned by none other than James Dean, twice. Dean bought the car to race in SCCA competition, but after a few years he sold it to a car collector named Bruce Meyers. Later in 1974 Dean bought the car back from Bruce. This particular model does not wear a Speedster badge as Dean had it removed from the car during his first ownership.

Porsche dropped the Speedster model from the 356 lineup in 1959 in favor of building the newer Convertible D cars. Only 3,122 of Speedsters were ever constructed.

When the cars first entered production there were powered by a 1.5-liter flat-four engine that produced 64 horsepower. Before the production ended, you could order a race-ready Carrera spec model with 128 horsepower. With the proper gearing in the transmission, a Speedster could reach speeds of over 125 mph, making it one of the fastest cars of the era.

Dean’s car here was a mid-range “Super” model that managed 88 horsepower from its 1.6-liter engine. The car is still in Dean’s family under the ownership of his son, Chad.

Posted on by Simona  

If in the last episode of Jay Leno’s Garage he had the chance to review the new generation Ford Mustang GT. In this new episode, Jay Leno went back into the history about 55 years and took a look at a 1957 Porsche 356A Outlaw .

This car is owned by Chuck Olenyk and is no ordinary Porsche 356A Outlaw, but one transformed from a coupe into a classic speedster. Making this conversion required more than 2,000 hours of work, and according to Olenyk, all the work was made in his home garage using all factory parts. The car also features the early 911 Fuchs alloy wheels, which makes the Old Porsche look cool and funky.

Check out the video to see what Jay Leno thinks of this classic Porsche 356A and if he finds it better than the models Porsche is offering today.

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.

Posted on by Bryan 6

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 withR8 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."

Hit the jump for the rest of the story.

Source: Automobile

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.

Source: LA Observed

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.

Source: AutoCar

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