The Porsche 356 was the company’s first production automobile. It was a lightweight and nimble-handling rear-engine rear-wheel-drive 2-door sports car available in hardtop coupe and open configurations. Design innovations continued during the years of manufacture, contributing to its motorsports success and popularity. Production started in 1948 at Gmünd, Austria, where approximately 50 cars were built. In 1950 the factory relocated to Zuffenhausen, Germany, and general production of the 356 continued until April 1965, well after the replacement model 911 made its autumn 1963 debut.
The basic design of the 356 remained the same throughout its lifespan, with evolutionary, functional improvements rather than annual superficial styling changes. Nevertheless a variety of models in both coupe and convertible forms were produced from 1948 through 1965. Cabriolet models (convertibles) were offered from the start, and in the early 1950s sometimes comprised over 50% of total production.
One of the most desirable collector models is the 356 “Speedster”, introduced in late 1954 after Max Hoffman, the sole US importer of Porsches, advised the company that a lower-cost, somewhat spartan open-top version could sell well in the American market. With its low, raked windscreen (which could be removed for weekend racing), bucket seats and minimal folding top, the Speedster was an instant hit, especially in Southern California.
To distinguish among the major revisions of the model, 356’s are generally classified into a few major groups. 356 Coupes and Cabriolets built through 1954 are readily identifiable by their split (1948 to 1952) or bent (center-creased, 1953 to 1954) windscreens. In 1955, with numerous small but significant changes, the 356A was introduced.
Its internal factory designation, “Type 1,” gave rise to its nickname “T1” among enthusiasts. In early 1957 a second revision of the 356A was produced, known as Type 2 (or T2). In late 1959 more significant styling and technical refinements gave rise to the 356B (a T5 body type). The mid 1962 356B model was changed to the T6 body type (twin engine lid grilles, an external fuel filler in the right front wing/fender and larger windows).
A unique “Karmann Hardtop” or “Notchback” 356B model was produced in 1961 and 1962. The 1961 production run was essentially a cabriolet body with the optional steel cabriolet hardtop welded in place. The 1962 line (T6 production) was a very different design in that the new T6 notchback coupe body did not start life as a cabriolet, but with its own production design—In essence, part cabriolet rear end design, part T6 coupe windshield frame, unique hard top. Both years of these unique cars have taken the name “Karmann Notchback”.
The last revision of the 356 was the 356C introduced for the 1964 model year. It featured disc brakes all round, as well as an option for the most powerful pushrod engine Porsche had ever produced, the 95 horsepower “SC.” 356 production peaked at 14,151 cars in 1964, the year that its successor, the new 911, was introduced to the US market (it was introduced slightly earlier in Europe). The company continued to sell the 356C in North America through 1965 as demand for the model remained quite strong in the early days of the heavier and more ‘civilized’ 911. The last ten 356’s (cabriolets) were assembled for the Dutch police force in March 1966 as 1965 models.
Our Porsche 356A T2 Cabriolet
This lovely Porsche 356A T2 Cabriolet was originally delivered to the USA. After production was finished, the car was directly shipped overseas and handled through dealer Hoffman of New York. Little is known of the first decades of the car’s history. At some point the car was bought by a Mr Dick Warren.
On July 11, 1995 the car was acquired by a Robert H Russell from Scottsdale Arizona – after he drove many miles behind Dick Warren on Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. Following a renewed Arizona Certificate of Title we noticed the odometer reading on April 1, 2004: 38,924 Miles.
By the end of 2004 / beginning of 2005 the engine was completely rebuild by marque specialist Don Jackson in Phoenix Arizona. The engine, carburetors and gearbox were completely rebuild and tuned. This work is completely specified by invoice dated February 14, 2005 and an interesting file of photographs. Also the bodywork of the car has been repainted in its current shade of “Rubinrot” in this period.
Mr Russell sold this Porsche 356A in Spring 2012. Following the transfer of ownership document the mileage was 42,482 Miles. Around October 2012 the car was imported into The Netherlands and we added this car to our collection. In the beginning of 2013 we sold this car to a very good friend who became the first and only Dutch registered owner who enjoyed her sparely in the last 4 years.
The car is in very good condition. The bodywork is rust- and accident free and has a good panel fit. The paint has a few imperfections due to its age but is very presentable in its current shade of Ruby red. The interior is just perfect and so is the engine. As the original engine has been slightly tuned this car combines best of both worlds: a little more power than the original 60 horsepower but beautiful styling of the early cars.
This Porsche 356 A T2 Cabriolet is for sale, please don’t hesitate to contact us for further questions.