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1957 356 A Image Right
 

1956 Porsche 356A news, pictures, specifications, and information

Chassis
 
The mid-fifties marked an era of unexpected growth for Porsche through high demand for their vehicles. The United States had become their single largest market, taking nearly fifty percent of total production.

Though this was a good problem to have, the company was very concerned that the dealer network was not fully equipped and staffed with proper staff to maintain their vehicles for the discerning Porsche clients. The major challenge in training technicians in the States was that the Porsche was so different than just about any other car on the road.

As a result, Porsche built two complete and running chassis without bodies as a primer to teach fledgling Porsche mechanics. This is the only known surviving example and it has been restored to original operating and cosmetic specifications.
Cabriolet
 
In 1956 Porsche offered a coupe, cabriolet and the Speedster models, with bodies supplied exclusively by Reutter. American buyers now had three engine choices, while in Europe there were five available. This car has the 1600cc, 110 hp, ohv flat four, and is one of only 850 Speedsters that were produced in 1956.
1500GS/Carrera Coupe
Chassis Num: 57998
 
Sold for $288,750 at 2012 RM Auctions.
Sold for $385,000 at 2013 Gooding & Company.
The Porsche Carrera made its introduction at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September of 1955. In the early 1950s, Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann was tasked with experimenting with the marque's air-cooled flat four to discover its potential. He re-designed the heads to a four overhead camshaft configuration and added a twin ignition, dual-choke Solex carburation, dry-sump lubrication and roller bearings on both mains and rods. In this guise, it was meant for the 550 Spyder, but was soon installed in a 356 coupe which won the 1954 Liege-Rome-Liege rally outright in the hands of Polensky and Linge. Approval for the GS/GT Carrera Series was granted. The four-cam engine was available in all three 356 body styles, resulting in a weight distribution of 41 percent front, 59 percent rear.

This Carrera was originally delivered to the Dusseldorf dealer in November of 1956. It was later sold to the United States. It current owner acquired the car in the late 1990s and was treated to a complete professional restoration. After the work was completed, the car successfully completed the Targa Newfoundland, the New England 1000, the Virginia Mountain Mille and at least two Carolina Trophies.

This vehicle has a 1700cc four-cam Carrera dry-sump engine featuring '904' pistons and cylinders, Carrillo rods, twin Solex P11-40 carburetion, electronic ignition and a Porsche 'peashooter' exhaust. It has a four-speed transmission with 'mountain rally' gears, 7.31 ring-and-pinion and a 12-bolt diff-housing. There are four-wheel brakes with alloy-finned 60 mm wide drums.

In 2012, the car was offered for sale at RM Auction's sale in Amelia Island, Florida. It was estimated to sell for $295,000 - $345,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $288,750 inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2012
Coupe
 
The Speedster was a true icon of the heyday of sports car racing in the 1950's. They dominated their class in the upstart years of the SCCA and were often regarded as 'giant killers' for defeating cars with much larger engines.

This particular Speedster was built by master Porsche restorer Gary Kempton to reflect the period modifications which those pioneer racers would have made.
Coupe
Chassis Num: 55100
 
Sold for $99,000 at 2010 Gooding & Company.
This Porsche spent much of its life in the San Francisco Bay Area, prior to its current owner purchasing the car roughly 30 years ago and bringing it to Oregon. It has spent much of its time during the past three decades off the road and in static storage. Since new, the car has been treated to a complete restoration. The car has been well preserved and taken care of, evident by the awards it received at both the Concours on Ocean Avenue and the Palo Alto Concours in 2009.

The car is fitted with several desirable options, including a Blaupunkt Bremen radio, Hirschmann antenna and wind wings.

Since the restoration, the car has been driven approximately 2,000 miles, 400 of which were during a driving tour through the Cascade Mountains in Oregon.

In 2010, this car was offered for sale at Gooding & Company's Scottsdale Auction in Arizona. The car was estimated to sell for $80,000 - 100,000. The lot was sold for the sum of $99,000, inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2010
Coupe
 
Dean Jeffries bought this Porsche 356 Carrera and radically altered the exterior appearance to launch his career as a custom car builder. He removed the bumpers, extended the nose and added custom features such as frenched headlights, roof vents, tail lights and rear scoop with grille. It was featured in many magazines of the era including an appearance on the cover of Rod & Custom. It was sold to Albert Nussbaum in early 1962. Nussbaum and his partner, Bobby Wilcoxson, were bank robbers on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List. Wilcoxson bought the Aztek, a George Barris-built custom 1955 Chevrolet now owned by Barry Mazza. It is also credited with inspiring Gary Kempton to create his first 'Outlaw' 356 and start the whole Porsche 356 Outlaw movement.
Roadster
Chassis Num: 82298
 
Sold for $180,000 at 2011 Gooding & Company.
This 356A Speedster was delivered on May 24th of 1956. It was finished in white with a red leather interior and exported through Glockler Porsche in Frankfurt, Germany. It was originally equipped for American use with sealed-beam headlamps, US instrumentation and coupe seats. It has an early T-1 body style and features the beehive taillamps and other unique details found on early models.

in the mid-2000s, the car was given a comprehensive restoration. Upon completion, it was taken on a cross-country journey. Currently, the car remains in excellent condition.

In 2011, this vehicle was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Amelia Island, Florida. It was estimated to sell for $200,000 - $230,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $180,000.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2011
Cabriolet
Chassis Num: 82520
Engine Num: 62584
Gearbox Num: 10489
 
Sold for $165,000 at 2007 Worldwide Auctioneers.
This 1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster was offered for sale at the 2007 Sports and Classic Car Auction presented by The Worldwide Group, in Hilton Head Island, SC where it was estimated to sell for $150,000 - $200,000. It has been owned by the same care-taker since 1974. It was treated to a restoration in 2005. It is finished in the correct White exterior with red leather upholstery and matching carpet interior. Power is from the 1582cc four-cylinder engine which produces around 70 horsepower.

The history of the 356 Porsche was one that was driven by many influences, including racing and a drive for commercial success. In 1954, the first new sales-driven model was the Speedster, which had come about through the request of the legendary U.S. importer, Max Hoffman. He requested special models be produced for the US marketplace to accommodate the special needs and demands of this market. The Speedster was designed to meet a specific price point, was equipped with minimal equipment and no accoutrements. It set the buyer back just $2,995; for that the new owner got small seats, a tiny top, and small side curtain windows. This also provided a low amount of weight and took advantage of the Porsche's engine. The cars had great road handling, braking, and acceleration. They had many accomplishments on the racing circuit, providing podium finishes for their drivers and bringing much glory to the Porsche marque.

After four years of production, 4,882 examples were built, surpassing the 356 Cabriolet by more than 55% over the same time period.

At auction this magnificent automobile shone brightly as bidding quickly surpassed the estimated low-end value. The excellent restoration, completed only a few months prior to the auction, was still very fresh. Its matching numbers and nearly 100% originally made it a price for any serious collector. As the gavel fell, a high bid of $165,000 including buyer's premium was enough to secure the car.

By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2007
Roadster
 
1956 was the second year for the iconic, open 356, created especially for the American market. Importer Max Hoffman, as early as 1950, had worked with Porsche persuading them that North America wanted a scaled down Jaguar XK 120 OTS (Open Two Seater). The first result was the Type 540 America Roadster of which Porsche made 17. The first Speedster, which appeared in September 1955, was only $2,995. It could be that price since it was 'minimalistic'; it had bucket seats, folding top, side curtains, 1500cc engine and a Type 644 4-speed gearbox.
Roadster
 
Porsche 356s were the company's first production automobiles. They are a lightweight and nimble handling rear engine, rear drive two-door sports car available in a hardtop or open configuration. Production began in Gmund Austria in 1948 and continued even after the birth of the iconic 911 model in 1963, with production ending in 1965.

This Speedster (Super) 1600 is a numbers matching example with the desirable beehive taillights, a full rear override bar and its original wheels. The car was originally purchased by an Air Force officer, who sold it to a professor at the University of North Carolina. He sold it to a student who owned the car for 42 years, but never completed the restoration. It was eventually completed by European Collectibles in Costa Mesa, CA. The car has a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity and has won numerous awards including an Antique Automobile Club of America National 1st place.
Roadster
Chassis Num: 82560
 
High bid of $115,000 at 2009 RM Auctions. (did not sell)
This 356A Speedster has been given a comprehensive restoration and remains in superb condition. It is painted in the original Porsche white, code number 30510, and the interior features red leatherette. There is new carpeting and mats and new chrome trim.

In 2009, this 356A Speedster was offered for sale at the Automobiles of Amelia Island auction presented by RM Auctions. It was expected to sell for $140,000 - $160,000. The lot failed to sell after a high bid of $115,000.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
1500GS/Carrera Coupe
Chassis Num: 56417
 
Sold for $303,856 (€235,200) at 2012 RM Auctions.
Porsche entered the La Carrera Panamericana in 1952, 1953 and 1954, the first two years in private hands. In 1953 and 1954, the factory entered a pair of cars in each race. In 1954, the Stuttgart firm posted 1-2 class wins and a third and fourth overall, behind 4.5- and 4.9-liter Ferraris. To commemorate this milestone, Porsche introduced the 100 bhp Carrera. The engine made its first appearance in the revised and updated 356, termed the 356A at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September of 1955.

The 1500 GS engine was a detuned version of the competition four-cam motor originally created for Porsche's 550 Spyder. After proper testing, the engine was installed in the 550 Spyder for racing duty.

Along with the engine, the 356 received other modifications for 1956, including chassis modifications resulting from track experience acquired with the 550 Spyder. The 356 also was given a more supple suspension with larger shock absorbers and improved stop blocks. The most powerful of the 356s, the Carrera came with 20 additional horsepower and had a top speed of nearly 200 km/h. Externally, 'Carrera' in gold lettering was placed on the rear engine cover.
The car was fully-restored in Italy from 2005 to 2006 and fitted with a period-correct 547/1 four-cam Carrera engine that was fully rebuilt by Armin Baumann. The car is finished in Aquamarine Blue Metallic with brilliant red full leather interior and rides on reproduction Rudge wheels.

This Porsche 356A/1500GS Carrera was first delivered in 1956 to United States distributor Max Hoffman in New York, before returning nearly fifty years later to Europe in 2004.

In 2012, the car was offered for sale at RM Auctions in Monaco where it was estimated to sell for €220.000-€280.000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of €235.200, inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2012
Roadster
Chassis Num: 82666
Engine Num: 63133
 
Sold for $242,000 at 2012 RM Auctions.
The Porsche 356 Speedster was rather popular, with 4,243 examples built between 1955 and 1959, when the Reutter-bodied roadster was replaced by the more sophisticated Convertible D. The Speedster was simple and minimalistic, with lightweight construction, a low-cut windshield, and tiny side screens. The dashboard was made lighter with revised gauges, a padded lip, and no glove box. Seats were lower and non-reclining.

This example was manufactured on October 15th of 1956 and was one of the 850 speedsters sold in the United States that year. It was delivered to Max Hoffman in New York and sold by Porsche Import Cars in Chicago to a buyer who purchased it for his son. Sadly, the son destroyed the transmission, which was removed and some years later delivered to the dealership for an estimate of the cost of a rebuild. The mechanic who disassembled the transmission in 1967 is the car's present owner.

The cost to rebuild the transmission was too much for the owner, who asked the mechanic, 'Do you want to buy the car?'

In 2012, this car was offered for sale at RM Auctions Monterey, California sale. It was estimated to sell for $190,000 - $250,000. As bidding came to a close, the car was sold for the sum of $242,000 inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2012
During the war Ferdinand 'Ferry' Porsche and a handful of his proven, faithful employees had started work on development number 356 in their workshops moved to the town of Gmünd in Kärnten. The first design drawings were completed on 17 July 1947 and on 8 June 1948 the Kärnten state government issued a special permit homologating the car. Returning home after being held by the French as a prisoner of war and bailed out of custody by his family, Professor Dr.-Ing.h.c.Ferdinand Porsche, Ferry's father, stated right away that 'every single bolt was just right'. No 1 was then followed by a small series of 52 additional cars built in Gmünd, production in Stuttgart from 1950 - 1965 subsequently amounting to 78,000 units of the 356 model Porsche No 1, a mid-engined roadster, is completed and homologated in the Austrian town of Gmünd. The engine displaces 1131 cc and develops maximum output of 35 bhp(26 kW). The first few 356 coupes are made of light alloy.
The Porsche 1500 S ('Super') was launched in 1952 and was capable of producing 70 bhp.

In 1953, the Porsceh 1300 S producing 60 horsepower was added to the Porsche line-up. This was also the year the Porsche was introduced to the Únited States. The split windshields are also replaced by bent windshields during this year.

1954 marked the production of the first 200 Porsche Speedsters.

In 1955, the Speedster becomes a genuine sales success. Production of the 356 A series starts in autumn wîth the proven 1300 and 1300 S power units soon joined by the 1600(1582 cc, 60 bhp/44 kW), 1600 S (1582 cc, 75 bhp/55 kW) and 1500 GS -the first Carrera marking the introduction of the new sports engine wîth four overhead camshafts - (1498 cc, 100 bhp/74 kW). The 1100-ccengines are dropped from the range.

During the 1956 model year, Porsche produces its 10,000th 356 model.

In 1957, the sporting and Spartan Porsche 1500 GS Carrera is joined by the more comfortable 1500GS de Luxe model.

In 1958, output of the Porsche 356 A 1500 GS Carrera GT is boosted to 110 bhp/81 kW. The Speedster is replaced by the Convertible D wîth a larger windscreen and winding windows at the side. The 1300-cc engines are dropped from the range.

In 1959, the Carrera receives extra power and is now called the 1600 GS-GT, wîth the sports version offering more output (1588 cc, 115 bhp/85 kW) than the de Luxe model (105 bhp/77 kW). The 356 B series is introduced in autumn, the Convertible D being renamed the Roadster.

Source - Porsche
The Porsche 365C has been named the number ten on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s by Sports Car International in 2004. The Porsche 356 is still widely regarded as a collector car that has capably stood the test of time.

There is some debate over which vehicle was the first official Porsche, the pre-war Porsche 64 being actually a VW racing automobile. The 356 was a sports car designed by Porsche that sold from 1948 through 1964 and was Porsche's first production automobile. A prototype for the 356, the 'Number 1' had a mid-engine. The name for the 356 was chosen as it was the 356th project off the Porsche design desk. In 1949, production officially began in Stuttgart, Germany.

Designed and fabricated by Ferdinand 'Ferry' Porsche (the son of well-known Dr. Ing Ferdinand Porsche, founder of Porsche motors), the Project # 356 concept was then styled by Irwin Komenda. Bailed out of custody by his family, Professor Dr.-Ing.h.c.Ferdinand Porsche was a held as a prisoner of war by the French. During the war, Ferry Porsche and a small handful of his faithful employees began work on the 356 in their workshops moved to the town of Gmünd in Kärnten. On Dr. Porsche's return to his family, he stated right away that 'every single bolt was just right'.

On July 17th, 1947, the first design drawings were completed, and it was an entire year later when the Kärnten state government issued a special permit homologating the car on June 8th, 1948.

Komenda, born in 1904 in Austria, was also responsible for contributing substantially to the construction of the Volkswagen, Cistalia, Auto Union racers, and other vehicles of the day. Joining Porsche's design bureau in 1931, Komenda held various positions at Steyr, Daimler-Benz and other coach shops in both Austria and Germany. He is responsible for contributing to a variety of other designs in Porsche's history, and was the chief engineer and head of Porsche's coachwork from 1955 until he died in 1966. The 'confidential clerk' for Porsche, Karl Peter-Rabe became the chief business manager, after Dr. Ing Albert Prizing, until 1965. Prizing was a business manager who is famous for bringing 37 orders back to the factory following one importer's conference in Wolfsberg in 1950.

The prototype was taken various times by Ferry, variously with just the rolling chassis without body, up the steep mountain roads surrounding the city to test its agile handling and durability. Ferdinand Porsche went on to live a long life, and died on March 27th, at the age of 88. Contributing to the handling of the prototype was the gearbox and suspension specialist Karl Frolich.

Evolving through several updates through the years, the 365 was originally available as a coupe, a cabriolet and finally a roadster. The vehicle changed from mid-engine to rear, along with a myriad of details that evolved over the 22 year run of the model, though the recognizable shape of the vehicle remained the same, a timeless classic. The most desirable versions were the Porsche 356 Carrera, which came with a special racing engine, and the 'Super 90' and 'Speedster' models. The same price as a Cadillac at the time, the price of a late 1950's Porsche was nearly $4,000. Today, a 356 Carrera model can sell for well over $150,000.

The very first Porsche sport car was hand built in Gmünd/Kärnten, Austria. The entire aluminum body was hand beaten over a wooden buck. Without the benefits of a machine shop, all of the engine and drive-train components were made completely. Over 50 Gmünd cars were built and sold primarily in Austria and Germany. To be closer to parts suppliers, the Porsche Firm, located to Zuffenhausen, Austria, near the Reutter coachworks following the war. The only Porsche to ever have the engine mounted in front of the rear axle, the 356/1 was open top 2-seater. Designed with a tubular chassis, the vehicle was air-cooled and came with a 110 cc engine that remarkably light and quick for the times. Following this first ever radical design, every Porsche 356 to follow was constructed with the engine in the rear, behind the axle.
The Reutter Company, located in Stuttgart Germany, was given the assignment in late 1949 to construct 500 body works for an adjusted model of the 356 unit. This classic 356 was capable of reaching a speed of 140 kph. Under the belief that selling more than 500 units was an impossible feat, it was a pleasant surprise on March 15, 1954, car no. 5,000 left the factory.

Over the years, the 356 was updated with various mechanical refinements, though the basic shape was retained and remained instantly recognizable from year to year. The final 356B Roadster was built in early 1963, while both Coupe and Cabriolet models continued to be built every year up until 1965.

With a top speed of over 85 mph (135kph), a total of only 4 models of the 356 were produced in 1948. The 356/1 came with a 1.1 liter engine that was capable of making 40 horsepower. Less than 60 units were produced during 1949 and the earlier part of 1950. These very rare and unique models are known today as the Gmünd Coupes. The tiny sport cars continued to be built during 1950, but now at a factory in Stuttgart where Porsche moved production. A total of 298 units were built and delivered to their owners by the end of 1950.

One year later, three engines, all of them were flat-4's 'boxers' that were air cooled and were available from the factory. They were available at the 1,100cc, the 1,300cc, and the 1,500cc. The 1500 Super was the top power-plant during late 1952, which came with a synchromesh transmission. That same year the America Roadster was designed and created. Only a total of sixteen models were produced, and all units were an aluminum cabriolet body that came with a removable windshield. In 1992, this vehicle inspired the 40th Anniversary 1992 911 America Roadster.

Under the advice of Max Hoffman, the sole importer of Porsches into the U.S., the 356 'Speedster' was introduced in late 1954. The idea was to produce a lower cost vehicle that was a racier version that would appeal to the American market. Proving to be an instantaneous hit, the Speedster came with a low, raked windshield that was easily removed, bucket seats, and a minimal folding top. In 1954, the Speedster was available for $2,995. This unit was available in a variety of six different engine types, the 1100, 1300, 1300A, 1300S, 1500 and 1500S. The 1500Super was the top of the line model, while the Coupe and Cabriolet wore the 'Continental' badge designation. In 1955 the 1600 motor went into production.

In 1956, the 356A was unveiled to the world, and had an all steel body, curved windshield and smaller wheels. When the cars were introduced, numerous subtle differences in the shape of the body and features were highlighted. In 1956 the 10,000th 356 unit rolled off the assembly line. The 356 Carrera was introduced at the same time, which came with a 1500GS engine. Before being replaced in 1959 by the Convertible D model, the Speedster peaked at a total of 1,171 units produced. In this same year, the 1300 engine was dropped from the line. A new project was the result from continued improvements to the 356A, the Type 2 or 'T-2', now with a new transmission, the 644 replaced the earlier 519 with an improved shifter, better synchros, dual nose mounts and a split case design. A higher horsepower is achieved in 1958 as continuous improvements were made in the Carrera engines.

The D model featured more comfortable seating, along with a more practical windshield, and glass side windows. In an attempt to boost sinking sales, around 1300 of these models were produced. While previous models were developed by Reutter coachbuilders, the Convertible D model was developed by Drauz, which is what the ‘D' stands for. The D model falls somewhere between a Speedster and a Cabriolet in both luxury and lightweight appointments. In the later months of 1959, the Convertible D became a roadster with the new T-5 body style. Today to the convertible D is considered very desirable, due to the low number of units produced.

In 1960 the 356B offered the S90, or 'Super 90' motor as an available option. The vehicle also had a counterweighted crank, sodium-filled valves and Solex P40-II carburetors. The Karmann Coachworks were employed in 1961 to produce the 'Hardtop', a Cabriolet body with a fixed hard roof. The nickname 'Notchback' was affixed to these cars because of their profile. Nearly 1750 of these vehicles were produced during the two years of its production.

It was one year later when the 356B was introduced, updated with an entirely new body and Super 90 engine. In 1962 and 1963, the engine was once again revised, and changed body styles. A very small number of 356B 4-seater coupes were produced by a Swiss company. Though rare, several models are still around today. Next was the introduction of the Carrera 2 in April of 1962, and only around 450 models were produced in both Coupe and Cabriolet form. In the same year, Karmann produced 2170 coupes, and Reutter produced 4100. The production for the year topped 7900 when the almost 1600 Cabriolets are added into the count. The discussion is broached by Porsche with Reutter to purchase the coachmaker, and finally, after 12-years of co-operation, the successes are consolidated. 'Christophorus', a customer magazine filled with news and background on the Porsche lifestyle is launched by the Porsche factory.

Finally the 356C, the final model, known also as the Type 6 (T-6), was available in 1964 with an engine that came from the same lines as previous Spyder engines, the most powerful pushrod engine Porsche every produced, was cable of producing 130 horsepower. Offering the 1600C, 1600SC and Carrerra 2 engines, the 356C featured 4-wheel disc brakes. Both the C and SC were available for purchase in either Coupe or Cabriolet form.

In 1964, a total of 14,151 356 units were produced. Porsche had achieved a production rate higher in that year alone than the entire line production of the first 10 years of the Porsche 356. The 911 was introduced at this time, presaging the end of the 356 run. Through the end of 1965, the company continued to sell the 365C in North America as a lower-cost vehicle.

Achieving a victory in the 1100cc class during its first outing, the original 356-001 vehicle was raced at the Innsbruck city race. In Austria, on the 8th of June 1948, the Porsche was homologated by the state government of Kärnten. Frequently touring the world for special car shows and historic events, the original Porsche '001' vehicle is in the Factory Museum.

Near the end of 1965, more than 76,000 Porsche 356 models were produced and sold. Following 17 years of production, the model 912 eventually took over the 356's stance in the market. The push-rod engine from the 356 was reused to power the 'entry level' 912 model that was produced from 1965 to 1969.

The Porsche '901' was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963. Later after a protest by Peugeot, the name was changed to '911'. In 1964 the Porsche 911 began production.

By Jessica Donaldson
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Arrow Right 1956 Porsche models
Porsche 550 RS Spyder
Porsche 550 RS Spyder Replica
Porsche 597 Jagdwagen

Collectible: A Gathering of the Exceptional and Captivating
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Average Auction Sale: $136,907

 
Porsche: 1951-1960
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Porsche
Monthly Sales FiguresVolume
March 20143,808 
February 20143,232 
January 20143,096 
December 20133,246 
November 20133,966 
October 20133,562 
September 20133,093 
August 20133,327 
July 20133,820 
June 20133,700 
May 20133,928 
April 20134,032 
(More Details)

 
356
550/718 Sports Racing Cars
597
904
906
907
908
911
912
914
917
918 Spyder
924
928
934/935
936
944
956 and 962
968
Boxster
Carrera GT
Cayenne
Cayman
GT3
Macan
Panamera
Type 959

1957 356 A Image Right
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