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Welcome to Porsche356.com, owned by Dusty Cars. We’re America’s highest paying classic car buyer, and if you’ve got a Porsche 356 for sale, we’ll pay top dollar in any condition.
Porsche 356 Models We Buy
1948 through 1955 Porsche 356 (pre A)
The Pre A designation is not an official Porsche suffix, however, it does help to eliminate confusion between the 356 and 356 A. The 356 pre A, like other 356 models, was also referred to by its internal body type designation. Type 1 gave way to T1, a nickname given the pre A 356 by driving enthusiasts. Between the years of 1948 and 1950 only approximately fifty units of the 356 were produced. These were manufactured at the original Porsche workshop in Gmund, Austria, with aluminum unitized bodies. These cars are rare and extremely valuable. In 1950 the operation was moved to Zuffenhausen, Germany and production began in earnest. Between the years of 1950 and 1955 over 7,000 units rolled of the assembly line. The 356 Pre A was offered as either a coupe, cabriolet, or Speedster model. The most popular model, the Speedster had its own unique body design, while the cabriolet version shared its body with the coupe model. Pre A cars can be most easily distinguished by their windshield design. The windshields were bent in the center; a split version of the bent glass was used initially, and then changed to a one-piece bent design.
1956 through 1959 Porsche 356 A
With the introduction of the 356 A came the curved windshield, which makes it easy to differentiate between it and earlier models. In 1956 a more powerful four-cam Carrera engine was offered at an additional charge and continued throughout 356 production. Other differences are subtle and difficult to recognize, as the Type I body initially remained in production in 1955 and 1956. In 1957 the Type 2 body designation was released with minor modifications to the previous body design and powertrain. The “peak” of the roof, which was necessary to accommodate the bent windshield, is no longer present on the 356 A, but instead forms a smooth arc from one side to the other. The dash was also redesigned to conform to the shape of the windshield. From 1956-1958 the coupe, cabriolet, and Speedster remained but in 1959 the convertible D replaced the Speedster. The convertible D was a more practical version of the convertible and featured a larger windshield, windows which rolled up, and more comfortable seating.
1960 through 1963 Porsche 356 B
In 1960 the Porsche 356 B Roadster was introduced along with a body change for the popular rear engine, rear-wheel drive, and air-cooled sports car. The Type 5 designation was produced until 1962. It was relatively the same as previous models with the exception of the Roadster. The grille was changed. It was now slightly higher and larger, with big bumper guards. The headlights were also higher and the fenders were virtually straight. The hood was flattened and there were additional grilles added under the bumper. In 1962 the Type 6 body designation was introduced and remained in production until the end of production in 1965. The popular Karmann Notchback coupe carried over to the new body designation, as did the traditional coupe, cabriolet, and Roadster models. 1962 would be the last year of production for the Roadster and Karmann coupe.
1964 through 1965 Porsche 356 C
In 1964 the addition of a four-wheel disc braking system gave the 356 C real stopping power, to accompany its sports car reputation. The Type 6 body designation was carried over, with only slight modification. In 1964 the most powerful engine to date was offered in the 356 C. It was a 95-horsepower overhead valve rear mounted air cooled flat-four-cylinder. Production of the 356 was halted in 1966, with Porsche releasing the units as 1965 models.
Background of the Porsche 356
Nowhere is the time tested tradition of Porsche automobiles more evident than in the various 356 models. The rich Porsche 356 history dates back to 1948 and the Northwestern Austrian town of Gmund, where Ferdinand Porsche (son of company founder, Dr. Ing Ferdinand Porsche) and Erwin Kormenda (a Porsche employee) are credited with its creation. The Porsche 356 manufacturing facility was relocated to Zuffenhausen, Germany in 1950. The 356 was continuously produced there from 1950 until 1965. There were approximately 76,000 units produced from these two plants and roughly half of the vehicles can be accounted for, today. Here, at Dusty Cars, we perform restorations on many diverse types of vehicles. Each and every one of these restorations is painstakingly undertaken, and each one is appealing in its own way. The Dusty Cars website contains an extensive photographic resume of these stunning, rare, and valuable automobiles, but none are more exquisite or desired than the Porsche 356 models.
Stuttgart, Germany — 1931
To compose a historical article regarding the Porsche 356, without first establishing the relationship between Porsche and Volkswagen, would be negligent. Initially, the Porsche Automobile Holding Company was founded in Stuttgart, Germany. It produced no automobiles under its own name, but acted as a consulting firm which specialized in motor vehicle development and manufacturing. One of the first assignments which Porsche received from the German high-command was that of a car for the people, a Volkswagen. The result of this contract turned out to be one of the most successful automobile designs of all time; the Volkswagen Beetle. The 1939 Porsche 64 was designed and produced using many components from the Beetle.
During World War II, the Porsche Volkswagen alliance proved fruitful for the German government in assisting with the production of Tiger I and Tiger II tanks and other military vehicles. At the end of World War II the Volkswagen plant was overtaken by the British. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche was charged with war crimes and imprisoned from 1945 until 1947, but he was never tried. He passed away of complications from a stroke in 1951.
Gmund, Austria — 1948
With his father incarcerated, young Ferry Porsche decided to build his own car, as he could not find one that particularly suited his fancy. He led the company through some of its darkest days, relocating to a small sawmill in Gmund, Austria where the first 356 models were produced. The 356 body was one-hundred-percent Porsche, and early models from Gmund, utilized a unitized pan body which was crafted in aluminum. In post war Germany parts were scarce and difficult to obtain, therefore many mechanical components used in the 356 were Volkswagen, including the engine, transmission, and suspension. Over the years, as the 356 evolved, fewer and fewer Volkswagen parts were used in production and eventually the 356s were composed totally of Porsche components. The 356 prototype was road certified in 1948 and shown to German auto dealers, when sufficient orders were secured, production of the 356 began. Between the years of 1948 and 1950 only approximately fifty 356 vehicles were produced, primarily due to a lack of exposure outside of Austria and Germany. However, a small following of racing enthusiasts, who had fallen in love with the 356’s aerodynamic design, handling, and top-tier quality, would serve as a spring board for the popularity of this little Porsche, on both sides of the globe. In 1950 the Porsche Automobile Holding Company would relocate to Zuffenhausen, Germany where it would produce the 356 until 1965.
Zuffenhausen, Germany — 1950
Enter the all steel unitized pan body of the Porsche 356. The all steel body was designed and produced with help from Reutter Karosserie, the firm which had collaborated with Porsche to design the Volkswagen Beetle prototype. With a class win at Le Mans in 1951 Porsche 356 sales skyrocketed between then and 1964 when roughly 10,000 units were sold.
- The Pre A model remained in production from 1948 until 1955 and sold over 7,600 units.
- The Porsche 356 A was manufactured from 1955 until 1959 and sold over 21,000 vehicles.
- The most popular of the 356s, the 356 B was produced from 1959 through 1963 and sold nearly 31,000 autos
- The 356 C was the last of this model, offered between 1963 and 1966; it was succeeded by the 911 and 912 models.
With a wide degree of variation between model years and packages, the Porsche 356 quickly became one of the most popular cars in the world. It is easy to see why they are some of the most collectable classics of today.