1957 Porsche 356 A

Ferdinand Porsche established his automotive design consultancy in the early 1930s, however, his name would not appear on a car until 1949. The first serial production car to wear the Porsche name was the Model 356 and it established a reputation for nimble, high quality, well-engineered sports cars that could often outpace and perform larger and more powerful automobiles, a philosophy that has changed little today. Manufacturing began with a short run of aluminum-bodied cars built at Gmünd, followed by the volume production of the steel-bodied 356 coupe at its old base in Stuttgart. The 356 utilized a monocoque chassis design and shared its basic layout with the Volkswagen Beetle. The engine was a highly reworked version of the Volkswagen's flat-four cylinder unit, and position behind the rear axle. Dr. Porsche improved the engine with new heads, new crankshaft, new cam, and other internals, along with dual carburetor intake. This allowed the engine to rev freely and produce double the horsepower of the Beetle.

Porsche Speedster
The Porsche 356 was continuously refined and revised over its 17-year production run without ever really being fully redesigned, and by the time production came to a close in 1965, horsepower had nearly doubled again from the first 356s. Along with numerous improvements, the 356 was offered in many different body configurations sourced through a variety of German coachbuilders. Standard factory bodies included a Cabriolet, Coupe, and Speedster. Additional styles included a Notchback, Convertible 'D', and Roadster variants, most with only minor differences in the overall shape of the body. Among the purest expression of the 356 as a driver-focused sports car was the Speedster which first appeared in 1955 at the suggestion of American importer, Max Hoffman. He believed that a minimalistic, stripped-down, lower-cost 356 would appeal to the American public, particularly in California where sports car racing was growing in popularity. Hoffman was correct and sales increased as the Speedster cultivated a niche that appealed to serious driving enthusiasts.

The Porsche Speedster was initially powered by a 1.5-liter version of Porsche's horizontally opposed four, gaining the new 1.6-liter, 60 horsepower engine with the introduction of the improved 356A for 1955. The Speedster was the lightest of the 356s, capable of achieving speeds of 100 mph, and was priced at just under $3,000. Between 1954 and 1958, Porsche built 4,822 examples of the Speedster.

356 Pre-A and A
Numerous small changes brought about the introduction of the 356 A in late 1955, with its internal factory designation 'Type 1' (nicknamed T1). In the United States, 1,200 early 356s had been badged as the 'Continental' and then an additional 156 from autumn 1955 to January 1956 as the T1 'European' variant after which it went back to its numerical 356 designations. Ford, makers of the Lincoln Continental, had sued over the use of the 'Continental' name. Porsche would later run into naming problems when they introduced the 901 and French carmaker Peugeot objected to Porsche using any three-digit number where the middle number was 0.

The Carrera name on the 356A meant it was powered by a slightly less ferocious version of the racing 550 Spyder's 1.5-litre, twin-overhead-camshaft, roller-bearing engine. Porsche had used the name to capitalize on its victories in the Carrera PanAmericana in 1952 and 1954. The dry-sumped four-cam Carrera engine offered 100 bhp in road-going form and 110 bhp in race trim. The 356 Carrera was capable of achieving speeds of over 120 mph, making it the fastest 1.5-liter production car of its day. Further developments brought about an increase in capacity to 1.6 liters in 1958 and the adoption of a plain-bearing crankshaft at the same time.

A second revision of the 356 occurred in early 1957, known as Type 2 (or T2). The four-cam 'Carrera' engine, which had been available only in the spyder race cars, was now optional on the 356 A. Most of the 356 A models were powered by a 1,582cc f4-cylinder boxer air-cooled naturally aspirated pushrod OHV 2 valves per cylinder valvetrain, with dual downdraft Zenith carburetors, producing 59 horsepower and 81 lb-ft of torque.

Styling changes and mechanical improvements brought about the 356 B in late 1959.


by Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2020

Related Reading : Porsche 356 History

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....
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Related Reading : Porsche 356 History

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....
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1957 Vehicle Profiles

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Cabriolet

The Porsche 356 1600 Super Sport was a sports car produced from 1948 through 1965. It was Porsche's first production automobile. The 356 name denotes that it was Porsche's 356th project. The 356 was the first production sports car bearing the Porsche....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 83069
Engine Num: 80861

The Porsche 356A cars were introduced in 1956 after revisions to the original 356 series. Differences between the two included a curved one-piece windshield, horn grilles under the headlamps, and an inside gas gauge. There were modifications to the t....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Cabriolet

Mr. Max Hoffman, an Austrian race car driver and entrepreneur, convinced Porsche to make a basic, light-weight car for club racing in America. The Porsche Speedster was introduced in 1954.....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Cabriolet

Purchased from the original owner in 1968 by Dr. Chuck Renn who in 1983 started the transformation of the (dark blue) Speedster into a vintage racecar. In 1985 Dr. Renn began campaigning the Speedster at Riverside Raceway, Laguna Seca, Willow Spring....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: P66250

This 1957 Porsche 356A Coupe raced in SCCA E-Production in Southern California & Arizona in the late 1960's through the early 1980's. Road raced included Ontario, Riverside, & Tucson Airport. It was also driven in numerous rallies, hill climbs and au....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Cabriolet

Chassis Num: 83525
Engine Num: P810527

This 1957 Porsche 356A Super Speedster was offered for sale at the 2007 Christie's Auction of 'Exceptional Motor Cars at the Monterey Jet Center.' It is finished in red with tan leather interior. Power is provided from the four-cylinder air-cooled ....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Cabriolet

Chassis Num: 82985

This is an ex-SCCA race car operated on the east coast and southern tracks in the late 1950s and 1960. It was best known to have been raced at Daytona in 1959 and 1960. It then came to the west coast in 1963 or 1964. This car had been upgraded wi....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 83332
Engine Num: 830648

This 1957 Speedster has been the recipient of honors at many car shows and was featured on the back cover and interior of the book, Speedster 50th Anniversary: Celebration of an Icon. Painted black with a red interior, this restored and modif....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Cabriolet

Chassis Num: 83536

This Porsche Speedster was recently united with its original engine. For reasons unknown, the engine was swapped in the 1960s. The original engine now powered a Volkswagen Bus, owned by a mechanic who operated a Volkswagen and Porsche repair shop in ....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 86590
Engine Num: 66372

Back in 1983 this Speedster was transformed into a vintage-style racecar and was then campaigned on the West Coast during the subsequent decade. It appeared at the Monterey Historics, Riverside, Willow Springs, Sears Point, and the Palm Springs Gran....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Roadster

The first Porsche 356s built in 1947 in Gmund, Austria, carried aluminum bodies built upon a tubular frame using Volkswagen technology. Porsche moved production to Stuttgart, Germany, and continued to make 356 coupes there - in steel. Then, in 1954, ....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Cabriolet

Chassis Num: 83319

The GT model, of which less than 100 were produced, was fitted with Porsche's famous Spyder 1.5-liter Type 547/1 four-cylinder racing engine. The air-cooled boxer engine has four camshafts driven by an intricate set of gears and a Hirth roller bearin....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 83301
Engine Num: 65352
Gearbox Num: 142458

Porsche's 356 Speedster was built as a more affordable price than the more luxurious 356 Cabriolet, at the insistence of Max Hoffman, Porsche's U.S. importer. The Speedster was priced at $2,995 and offered a small top, side curtains, and lightweight ....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Cabriolet

World War II took a heavy toll on industrial manufacturers all across Europe. Following the war, Porsche slowly rebuilt itself. They used readily available, and inexpensive, components from the Volkswagen 'Beetle' that Dr. Ferdinand Porsche had desig....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Cabriolet

This car was raced extensively by Lake C. Underwood Sr. in 1963-1964. Underwood was a SCCA Championship caliber driver competing in Porsches at all levels throughout the 1950's and 1960's. ....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

1500GS/Carrera Coupe

In 1957 Porsche introduced a new and further improved de luxe competition-focused, T-2 bodied, Carrera powered by the 100 horsepowe3r 547/1 4-cam engine, notably with Solex 40 PII-4 carburetors, and weighing just over 2,000 pounds, it was faster than....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 82852
Engine Num: 63868
Gearbox Num: 12510

This Porsche 356 A 1600 Speedster was produced on December 21, 1956. It was given sealed beam headlights and U.S.-specification headlamps. It was sent to the United States but not much is know about its early history. The car has resided in Californi....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 83643
Engine Num: 66516
Gearbox Num: 15666

Sam Fleming purchased this 1957 Speedster in the Dallas area in 1967 when he was just 26 years old. After enjoying the car for many years, it was parked in a Dallas-area garage, where it would remain for some 40 years. The car is complete, although t....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: 100288
Engine Num: 610653

This Porsche 356 Coupe is finished in its factory delivered black livery. It has a black over tan carpet interior, a proper radio, and a few original dash plates. It has never been totally torn down and restored. ....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 83366
Engine Num: 81007

This Porsche 1600 Super Speedster is a low-mileage example with its original matching numbers Super engine. This Speedster was delivered new to Switzerland and is believed to have remained there until the 1970s, when it was owned by Mr. Joseph Nash. ....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Coupe

The Speedster variant of the 356 was first introduced in 1954. It was made to be a stripped down, low roof, and lower-cost version of the 356 focused on the American market. It was a success because of its unique look and racing prowess. ....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: 83051
Engine Num: 64648

This Porsche Speedster was completed on March 7th of 1957. It is a late-production T-1 variant that was specified for United States delivery and finished in Signale Red over black. It was sold through official distributor Hoffman Motors in New York C....[continue reading]

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Coupe

In 1957 Porsche offered two distinct versions of the Carrera. One was the Deluxe for the street and the other the Gran Turismo (GT) for the track. The difference between the two models was weight. The Carrera GT was a purpose-built car with few ameni....[continue reading]

Cabriolet
 
Roadster
Chassis #: 83069 
Cabriolet
 
Cabriolet
 
Coupe
Chassis #: P66250 
Cabriolet
Chassis #: 83525 
Cabriolet
Chassis #: 82985 
Roadster
Chassis #: 83332 
Cabriolet
Chassis #: 83536 
Roadster
Chassis #: 86590 
Roadster
 
Cabriolet
Chassis #: 83319 
Roadster
Chassis #: 83301 
Cabriolet
 
Cabriolet
 
1500GS/Carrera Coupe
 
Roadster
Chassis #: 82852 
Roadster
Chassis #: 83643 
Coupe
Chassis #: 100288 
Roadster
Chassis #: 83366 
Coupe
 
Coupe
Chassis #: 83051 
Coupe
 


Concepts by Porsche

Porsche Monthly Sales Volume

December 2019
4,733
November 2019
6,326
October 2019
5,447
September 2019
5,213
August 2019
4,636
July 2019
4,956
June 2019
5,205
May 2019
5,010
April 2019
5,018
March 2019
4,779
February 2019
4,826
January 2019
5,419
Additional Sales Volume Data


Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

$295-$3,200
1957 356 A
$3,910-$16,800
1957 Porsche 356 A Price Range: $3,200 - $3,910

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Porsche
1962Chevrolet (2,061,677)Ford (1,476,031)Fiat (957,941)5,759
1961Ford (1,338,790)Chevrolet (1,318,014)Volkswagen (807,488)7,559
1960Chevrolet (1,653,168)Ford (1,439,370)Toyota (1,068,321)7,559
1959Chevrolet (1,462,140)Ford (1,450,953)Volkswagen (575,407)4,681
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)4,201
1957Ford (1,676,449)Chevrolet (1,505,910)Plymouth (726,009)5,241
1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Meteor (1,408,478)4,201
1955Chevrolet (1,704,667)Ford (1,451,157)Buick (738,814)4,529
1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)1,891
1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)1,941
1952Chevrolet (818,142)Ford (671,733)Plymouth (396,000)1,297

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