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1951 - 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster

1951 - 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster
- image 41958
Porsche 356 Speedster
  • Porsche 356 Speedster
  • Year:
    1951- 1955
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Transmission:
    4-Speed Manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    60@4400
  • Displacement:
    1488 L
  • 0-60 time:
    13.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    99 mph
  • body style:

The first major style innovation since 1950 was the introduction of the "Speedster" in 1954 primarily aimed at the Californian market, where in its 1500S form it became a popular race car. 1955 saw a major change in engine specifications with the 1500 being replaced by the 1600, providing Porsche with their first genuine 100 mph production car and detail changes to the bodywork introduced as the 356A.

6 photos

Latest Porsche 356 news and reviews:

1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster

1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster

Rare, late production model built with racing in mind

In early 2016, Jerry Seinfeld decided to put three cars from his extensive car collection up for auction. One of those models was a 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster, and it is kind of a big deal. The car you’re looking at in the pictures is Chassis No. 84908 with Coachwork done by Reutter.

It was a late production model and was one of just 151 examples built. Making it even rarer, is that it is one of only 13 Speedsters – and the only Carrera Speedster – to be finished in Auratium Green. This example was recently restored to its original specifications and, in turn, has won itself a few Concours wins including the Best in Class honors at the Quail Motorsports Gathering and the Annual 356 Club Dana Point Concours d’Elegance.

This particular 356 A went under the hammer at the 2016 Amelia Island and changed hands for more than $1 million, making it one of the most expensive 356s in history. Keep reading to find out more about it.

Updated 03/14/2016: Jerry Seinfeld sold his Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster at the 2016 Amelia Island Auction for the amazing price of $1.54 million.

Note: All images copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company

Continue reading to learn more about the 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster.

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Janis Joplin-Owned 1964 Porsche 356C Cabriolet Fetches $1.76 Million At Sotheby's Auction

Janis Joplin-Owned 1964 Porsche 356C Cabriolet Fetches $1.76 Million At Sotheby’s Auction

A 1964 Porsche 356C Cabriolet belonging to the late Janis Joplin sold for $1.76 million at a recent RM Sotheby’s auction in New York City, becoming the most expensive 356 to ever to be sold in an auction setting.

In addition to having been previously owned by one of the most influential musicians of the 1960s, this particular 356C Cabriolet is best known for its psychedelic exterior paint finish called the History of the Universe. Sotheby’s initially valued the car at anywhere from $400,000 to $600,000, but whether it was the unique mural on the body of the car or its ties to Joplin (or both), a handful of bidders went into overdrive fighting over the trippy ride. In the end, the winning bidder paid close to three times its estimated value, beating out other 356C Cabriolets that have gone under the hammer at past auctions, including another 1964 356C Cabriolet that went for $341,000 at the 2014 Worldwide Auctioneers.

The history tied into Joplin’s 356C Cabriolet is pretty straightforward. According to a listing posted by RM Sotheby’s on its website, Joplin purchased the car second-hand back in 1968. The mural, though, came after. Apparently, a roadie for Joplin’s band Big Brother and the Holding Company was responsible for creating the groovy design, which features butterflies, rainbows, and a landscape.

After Joplin’s unexpected passing in 1970, her family took ownership of the 356C Cabriolet and had it repainted in its original Dolphin Gray finish. It was only after doing so that they realized the uniqueness of the mural and had two artists bring back its colorful design using pictures of the original car. The car has also made numerous public appearances in the past, most notably in 1995 when Joplin’s family loaned it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Continue after the jump for the full story.

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1960 Porsche 356 B 1600 Cabriolet

1960 Porsche 356 B 1600 Cabriolet

The Porsche 356 was the first production car to wear a Porsche badge. Ferdinand Porsche, and his son (also named Ferdinand, but usually called “Ferry”) had been involved in the auto industry for a long time, but Ferry had a vision to make road cars with his family name on them. During WWII he had owned a Volkswagen that he had supercharged, and this gave him an idea, that a small car with a reasonable amount of power could be more fun than a big car with a lot of power. Thus the idea for the 356 was born, and the car would grow up along with the company that made it.

Since the 356 was Porsche’s first model (debuting in 1948), and it would stay in production for a fairly long period of time, every 356 tells a part of the story of the early years of Porsche. As the most popular variant of the car, the 356B gives us a particularly interesting cross section of company history. The 356 you see here is a 1960 model, notable for being the first of the 356s that would incorporate upgrades that would lead a few years later to the 911. Indeed, early 911 sketches were made alongside the plans for upgrading the 1960 356.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1960 Porsche 356 B 1600 Cabriolet.

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World's Largest Porsche Auction to Be Held in the UK

World’s Largest Porsche Auction to Be Held in the UK

An incredible collection of Porsches is set to cross the auction block at the Coys event on September 6th at Castle Hedingham, England, during the Porsche Classics weekend. There are some seriously desirable lots here, including a Porsche mono-cylinder Junior tractor, a 6,300-mile Carrera GT supercar and just about every other flat-six- and flat-four-powered thing in between.

About that tractor. Around about the time he was designing the Volkswagen Type 1, more widely known as the Beetle, Ferdinand Porsche was also working on tractors. He built three prototypes in 1934, but the plans were put on hold when the German government started making some questionable choices, eventually leading to World War II. By the time the war has ended, Porsche had perfected his tractor design and licensed it out to Allgaier GmbH in Germany, Hofherr Schrantz of Austria and later to another German company called Mannesmann AG.

This particular Porsche tractor is one of the later models built by Mannesmann, and is one of the single-cylinder, light-duty Junior series models. Other tiers included the two-cylinder Standard, three-cylinder Super and four-cylinder Master. With an 822 cc diesel that produced 14 horsepower, this red 1958 Junior probably one of the slowest Porsches ever built, but try tilling a field with a 918 Spyder.

Continue reading for the full story.

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NCMA Porsche by Design: Porsche 356 Gmund Coupe

NCMA Porsche by Design: Porsche 356 Gmund Coupe

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.

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NCMA Porsche by Design: Porsche 356 Speedster

NCMA Porsche by Design: Porsche 356 Speedster

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.

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Video: Jay Leno Reviews the 1957 Porsche 356A Outlaw

Video: Jay Leno Reviews the 1957 Porsche 356A Outlaw

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.

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1957 Porsche 356A 1600 Sportster

1957 Porsche 356A 1600 Sportster

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.

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Designer renders Porsche 356 Speedster

Designer renders Porsche 356 Speedster

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.

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1952 Porsche 356 Cabriolet - America's Oldest Import

1952 Porsche 356 Cabriolet - America’s Oldest Import

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.

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Fighting within the VW Group over small sports cars

Fighting within the VW Group over small sports cars

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.

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Jay Leno's 1963 Porsche 356 gets towed due to a fuel pump malfunction

Jay Leno’s 1963 Porsche 356 gets towed due to a fuel pump malfunction

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.

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Ultra-rare Porsche 356 prototype for sale

Ultra-rare Porsche 356 prototype for sale

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.

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Porsche prepares to bring back the 356

Porsche prepares to bring back the 356

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.

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PGO Hemera - modern interpretation of Porsche 356

PGO Hemera - modern interpretation of Porsche 356

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.

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Porsche's future smallest roadster

Porsche’s future smallest roadster

Earlier this month we announced that Porsche was looking at possibly making its own version of the future four-cylinder roadster from Volkswagen and Audi. At the time the assumption was that the car would be compared to the 914 and would possibly carry its name. Now Car Magazine is wondering if Porsche will reach further back into its history and call the car 356. From this new perspective, the future roadster from Stuttgart may look like the picture above.

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?

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Top Ten Coolest Cult Car

Top Ten Coolest Cult Car

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 (...)

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1948 - 1965 Porsche 356

1948 - 1965 Porsche 356

The Porsche 356 was a Porsche sports car sold from 1948 through 1965, and Porsche’s first production automobile. It was designed by Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche. His father, Ferdinand, Sr., was the designer of the original Beetle, and the 356 was designed utilizing may Beetle parts, including important drivetrain components.

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1951 - 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster

1951 - 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster

The first major style innovation since 1950 was the introduction of the "Speedster" in 1954 primarily aimed at the Californian market, where in its 1500S form it became a popular race car. 1955 saw a major change in engine specifications with the 1500 being replaced by the 1600, providing Porsche with their first genuine 100 mph production car and detail changes to the bodywork introduced as the 356A.

Read more
1959 - 1965 Porsche 356b

1959 - 1965 Porsche 356b

Produced from 1959 the 356B was an improved 356A with modifications aimed no doubt at the US market. Notable alterations were a higher nose height at the front, larger bumpers and the addition of a pair of twin-choke carbs to boost performance.

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1955 - 1958 Porsche 356a Speedster

1955 - 1958 Porsche 356a Speedster

A lot of cars can be called classics or even highly-desirable, but few have had a cult following so wild that they can be called a legend. That’s exactly what the Porsche Speedster is, and the 356a Speedster is still so desirable that it has become the object of affection for various replica companies in recent years. To understand the 356a Speedster, it’s important to understand the original Porsche 356. Built from 1950 to 1955, the original 356 was the first production vehicle to carry the Porsche badge. It was built specifically with speed in mind and was a two-seater with a completely new chassis, making it lighter and more agile. In 1956 Porsche debuted a revised version dubbed the 356a, and while it looked reasonably similar to the original 356, there was a lot of revisions made. The downside to the 356a, however, is that it was expensive.

American Porsche dealer, Max Hoffman, realized that the 356a would sell better here in the States if it could be inexpensive enough to compete with the Triumphs and Mgs at the time, so he requested a cheaper model from Porsche. Porsche’s answer was the 356a Speedster – a model that had only the bare necessities. As the story goes, the 356a Speedster became amazingly popular with enthusiasts and racers at the time and earned itself a place in American sports car culture. Furthermore, it became integrated into Californian culture where its basic configuration and lack of advanced weather equipment was more than appropriate and still is to this day.

That love for the car in the California market is surely part of the reason that the car has maintained such a cult-like following over the years. To this day, there are various replica companies that will happily build you one, and originals still pop up in auction houses here and there. The funniest part about the whole situation is that the 356a Speedster, despite its lack of amenities, has been found to be worth significantly more than the better-equipped 356a. With that said, let’s take a closer look at the 356a and talk a little more about it.

Keep reading for our full review of the 356a Speedster

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