There are many different versions of the Porsche 356 but each and every one of them holds a special place in the automotive industry.
Looking at any of the iterations, many would argue that the Porsche 356 looks like several other cars – but, they would be wrong. Several other cars look like the Porsche 356.
It was so adored that many of the companies at the time shamelessly copied many of its outstanding design features. Moreover, the success of its design can be seen in the fact that even today, almost 70 years after the first 356 was produced, it still looks fresh and beautiful, unlike many other cars of its era which tend to be deemed archaic in terms of design.
It was conceived as a luxury sports car with two body styles – coupe and convertible – and it featured the RR layout (rear-wheel-drive and rear-engine), which made it incredibly interesting to drive even with the weakest engine option with the displacement of just 1.1 l and about 40 HP.
This was the time way before any driving assist features and lots of weight at the back paired with a rear-wheel-drive automatically meant joy for every car enthusiast even with just 40 HP, especially with the weight ranging from just 1,700 to 2,296 lbs.
The car was incredibly responsive and agile. However, a total of seven different engine options emerged over the years, with the most powerful one being a 2 l unit with a significant increase in power reaching 130 HP.
The design was penned by Erwin Komenda, an esteemed designer responsible for many famous shapes including the first VW Beetle, numerous Porsches (including the first 911) and several Mercedes models.
Major changes in design and mechanics also brought different naming and the first production Porsche existed in the following iterations:
- The 356 made from 1948 to 1955, with split windscreen until 1952 and creased one until 1955;
- The 356A built from 1955 to 1959 and being the first street legal Porsche to sport the Carrera engine;
- The 356B built from 1959 to 1963 with two body styles marked T5 until 1962 and T6 until 1963;
- And, finally, the 356C built along with the first 911 from 1963 to 1965. It was very similar to the previous T6 356B in terms of design, but it included a very significant technical upgrade – four disc brakes.