Some have argued it’s the car that launched a marque, while others argue it’s the forefather of all supercars as we know them. Whichever is true, it is undeniable that the Porsche 356 is one of history’s most iconic cars ever created.
The marque we know today is the creation of a father and son team. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. first established his own design and engineering firm in 1931, 17 years before he and Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche, Jr. opened their doors with 200 employees.The 356 was the first production model to come from the brand, a two-seater featuring a four-cylinder rear-engine that could produce 40 hp.
Truly, the 356 design came from Ferry. As the story goes, he couldn’t find a car on the market that he was truly interested in buying, which lead him to simply create one for himself. Only 50 models were produced during the first two years, but enthusiasts caught on and demand began to increase.
Its introduction marked the first time a performance car focused on a small size, lightweight, and comfortable. While creating a comfortable interior for high performance cars might seem commonplace today, the line between performance car and road car hadn’t been blurred in 1948.
A new version was developed to better appeal to the American market in 1954 at the urging of Max Hoffman, the only US importer of Porsches at the time. The Porsche 356 Speedster was a stripped down roadster with an open-top and lower cost that became wildly popular in the US, and particularly in Southern California.
For these reasons and many others, the 356 has been marked down in automotive history as a pivotal creation for the industry overall. The model was produced from 1948-1965 and there were quite a few variants and generations made, including the 356A, 365B and 356C models. It has also become a very popular model for recreations, and it is important to note whether the Porsche 356 for sale is an original or a 356 replica.