Porsche Beutler 356B

During the late 1940's and early 1950's, the Beutler brothers, highly skilled coachbuilders, were responsible for aiding in the production of the Porsche 356 Cabriolets. Carrosserie Gebrüder Beutler was established in 1943 by brothers Ernst and Fritz Beutler in Thun, Switzerland. Their involvement with Porsche includes building the prototype 356 Cabriolet, in a similar fashion to the coupe design by Erwin Komenda.

The four-passenger coupe by Beutler had been introduced in 1957 at the Geneva Motor Show. It used Porsche 356 A running gear with a unique appearance that included a long hood and a nearly horizontal deck lid. This was followed from late 1958 onwards by a second series car based on the revised 356 B. Its appearance was more in line with the Porsche, including the use of the 356 B door handles, bumpers, hood handle, and brake lights.

The Buetler brothers (Ernst, Fritz, Herr, and Gebruder) were tasked by Porsche with designing the body. Stipulations were placed on the design mainly that it had to be recognizably Porsche. The vehicle used Porche 356B brake lights, door handles, bumpers, and hood handle. Using a 356B chassis, two prototypes were built in November of 1959. Ferry Porsche approved the design. However, only five (possibly six) Beutler-Porsches 356B's were constructed due to disagreements between the Brothers and Ferry. The brothers were used to dealing directly with the customer while Ferry wanted the distribution to go through the Porsche network. A compromise could not be found and Porsche stopped supplying the Beutler brothers with chassis. The remaining production was entrusted to Carrosserie Reutter.

The Buetler brother's contribution to the Porsche marque legacy is significant, undeniably, and often overlooked. Many have wondered what direction the company might have taken if the Brother's contribution would have continued.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2016