MODEL HISTORY & PRODUCTION
The first Porsche 356 rolled off the production line in Stuttgart in 1950. Production ran until 1965 when manufacturing ceased, by which time over 76,000 examples of various model designations had been produced.
It was Porsche’s first production vehicle, with an evolution starting with the 356 now referred to as the Pre-A, the 356A introduced in 1955, the 356B in late 1959, and the final series 356C introduced for the 1964 model year. In each form, they were built predominantly as either Coupe or Cabriolets. The Karmann-bodied Notchback coupes and cabriolets (1961-62) are especially sought after now, as is the limited production four-cam racing ‘Carrera’ version introduced in 1954.
The 356 was created by Ferdinand ‘Ferry’ Porsche (son of Ferdinand Porsche – company founder). In 1972, during a PCA magazine interview, he summarises his thinking behind the concept as: “I had always driven very speedy cars. I had an Alfa Romeo, also a BMW, and others… By the end of the war, I had a Volkswagen Cabriolet with a supercharged engine, and that was the basic idea. I saw that if you had enough power in a small car, it is nicer to drive than if you have a big car which is also overpowered. And it is more fun. On this basic idea, we started the first Porsche prototype.”
This lightweight approach quickly gained the 356 its popularity, and combined with its power-weight ratio, the rear-engined layout, nimble handling, and excellent build quality gave the 356 a proper driver appeal – a proven formula that also provided a class win at Le Mans in 1951. Power outputs varied between 44hp for the original 1131cc engine and 130hp for the later 1966cc Carrera versions.
The Pre-A or ‘prototype’ Austrian built 356s were aluminium bodied, but when manufacturing moved to Germany, Porsche contracted Reutter to manufacture the bodies in steel, and eventually bought the company in 1963. Reutter retained the seat manufacturing sector of their business, but later changed their name to Recaro – forming the company we’re much more familiar with today.
In October 1964, the 356’s successor, the iconic 911 made its debut – but its enduring popularity ensured production continued well into 1965.
With full matching numbers and Certificate of Authenticity, this 1600cc 60hp Porsche 356B was first registered in November 1960 in Johannesburg, South Africa, where it was sold to its first owner by agent Lindsay Saker.
Together with the original driver’s manual and interesting ephemera in the accompanying history file, a substantial set of maintenance invoices show the vehicle then remained in South Africa until it was imported to the UK in 2022 by its current owner, for which documentation is also to hand.
Still predominantly original, but benefiting from a recent repaint in South Africa in its original Ivory colour, it presents very well, is mechanically well sorted, and has an interior in particularly fine order.
Currently under preparation for sale in our workshops.
It is available for viewing in the UK on an appointment basis, and would suit an enthusiast or collector with whom this vehicle will represent a good acquisition opportunity.
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