Today: February 19, 2018, 8:51 am

Porsche 356 Changes Over the Years

he first Porsche production car went through a few overhauls over its seventeen year lifespan. 2016-12-13 15:22:33
The first Porsche production car went through a few overhauls over its seventeen year lifespan. To the untrained eye they all look pretty much the same, but there are a few vast differences that are easy to miss unless you already know about them. The thing about the model distinctions is all of the changes and updates were functional. None of it was superficial. The goal all along was to make the best luxury sports car possible. Doesn’t that just sound like Porsche? Let’s take a look at the four periods of the Porsche 356.

Pre-A (1948-1955)

This one is technically just called “356” but it’s often designated by enthusiasts as “pre-A”. It was the first generation of the model which was originally built in a saw mill in Gmünd, Austria by Porsche Konstruktionen GesmbH. In 1950, manufacturing moved to Zuffenhausen, Germany where it was built by Porsche AG. Yes, you read those right, they were technically two different companies both run by Ferry Porsche. One of the distinguishing features of the pre-A was a split windshield which was replaced with a single, V-shaped windshield in 1952.

A (1955-1959)

Also known as “Type 1” or “T1”, the 356 A brought about a few changes. Most notably, this was the first 356 available with the four-cam Carrera engine previously only used in racecars. A handful of these came to the US badges as the “Continental” and the “European” after Ford took issue with the name “Continental.” These are rare, sought-after classics today. The 356 A has become a very popular replica car over the last couple decades.

B (1960-1963)

The 356 B represents a significant styling change for the model. This is when it really started looking like it’s successor, the 911. Twin grilles in the back, a bigger rear windshield, and an external fuel filler on the front right fender gave it a more distinct, sporty look. There was a notchback body available in 1961 and 1962. At first it was just a cabriolet body with the optional steel top welded on. In 1962 it got its own unique notchback body.

C (1964-1965)

The Porsche 356 C had some overlap with the mighty 911. Porsche continued selling it because it was still popular, especially in the US. Disc brakes all around were standard and you could get the 1.6L SC engine, the most powerful pushrod engine that Porsche made at the time. The last ten 356’s produced were cabriolets for the Dutch police force.

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