Porsche is a German automobile manufacturing company that has dazzled the automotive world since 1931. The Porsche 356 was one of the very first cars produced by Porsche after the end of World War 2. Original Porsche 356 cars are among the most sought after by collectors world wide. So popular is the 356 that in recent years it has become a frequently replicated design by kit car manufacturers. Working on a replica or restoring an original is easy with a Porsche 356 repair manual.
One of the most enduring, practical and functional automotive designs of all time was the Volkswagen Beetle. The son of founder, Ferdinand Porsche essentially redesigned aspects of the Volkswagen Beetle and increased the power greatly to produce the Porsche 356, which debuted in 1948.
The smooth, flowing lines of the 356 are unmistakable, and created a traditional shape that is still used by Porsche today. The original 356 was powered by a variation of the Volkswagen flat four boxer engine, using a different cylinder head, cams, exhaust and intake. All Porsche 356 cars except the very first one are rear engine. The first was set rear-midship.
Horsepower for the 356 seems tiny today, with the most common engine producing 60 horsepower, but with plenty of torque and a lightweight car, Porsche had a winning combination. The 356 introduced the world to the name “Carrera,” which has been used for various model Porsche vehicles ever since. Carrera is the name of the dual overhead cam variation of the Boxer-type engine available in later 356 cars.
The Porsche 356 was sold in many different configurations. Originally a hardtop coupe, later models included targas, roadsters, cabriolets and stripped down versions with simplified folding tops. Many were modified for racing, and the Porsche 356 Cabriolet featured a removable windscreen, allowing owners to go from street to track quickly.
The 356 ended production in 1965 after 76,000 cars were produced. Early cars today are considered rare, while many later models are prized for the increased performance options and varied body styles. Replicas are becoming common today, with many imitating the original to perfection.
A Porsche 356 parts catalogue describes the various components and lists their availability. The parts catalogue is essential for the restorer and is an invaluable tool to the replicator.