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1957 Porsche 356 A

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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

Chassis Num: 83069
Engine Num: 80861

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Chassis Num: P66250

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Chassis Num: 83525
Engine Num: P810527

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Chassis Num: 82985

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Chassis Num: 83332
Engine Num: 830648

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Chassis Num: 83536

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Chassis Num: 86590
Engine Num: 66372

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Chassis Num: 83319

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

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

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

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

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

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

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Chassis Num: 100288
Engine Num: 610653

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Chassis Num: 83366
Engine Num: 81007

1957 Porsche 356 A vehicle information

Chassis Num: 83051
Engine Num: 64648

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

Other 1957 Porsche Models

356

Year
Production
Wheelbase
Engine
Prices
82.70 in.
4 cyl., 66.27 CID., 39.00hp
82.70 in.
4 cyl., 67.13 CID., 40.00hp
410
82.70 in.
4 cyl., 66.27 CID., 40.00hp
$4,285 - $4,585
1,169
82.70 in.
4 cyl., 78.48 CID., 43.00hp
4 cyl., 90.80 CID., 59.00hp
$4,280 - $4,580
1,297
82.70 in.
4 cyl., 66.27 CID., 39.00hp
4 cyl., 78.48 CID., 43.00hp
4 cyl., 90.80 CID., 54.00hp
$4,280 - $4,580
82.70 in.
4 cyl., 90.80 CID., 70.00hp
2,498
82.70 in.
4 cyl., 90.80 CID., 55.00hp
$3,455 - $4,580
1
82.70 in.
4 cyl., 104.96 CID.
82.70 in.
4 cyl., 96.54 CID., 59.00hp
4 cyl., 96.54 CID., 74.00hp
$3,200 - $3,910
82.70 in.
4 cyl., 97.64 CID., 50.00hp
4 cyl., 78.48 CID., 59.00hp
4 cyl., 96.54 CID., 59.00hp
4 cyl., 96.54 CID., 74.00hp
4 cyl., 96.85 CID., 113.00hp
$3,200 - $5,900
82.70 in.
4 cyl., 96.54 CID., 75.00hp
4,528
82.70 in.
4 cyl., 97.64 CID., 75.00hp
$3,580 - $7,650
82.70 in.
4 cyl., 96.54 CID., 59.00hp
4 cyl., 96.54 CID., 74.00hp
4 cyl., 96.54 CID., 89.00hp
4 cyl., 119.97 CID., 128.00hp
$3,600 - $7,650
82.70 in.
4 cyl., 96.54 CID., 70.00hp
4 cyl., 96.54 CID., 88.00hp
4 cyl., 96.54 CID., 102.00hp
$3,600 - $7,700

Industry 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)Buick (572,024)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)4,529
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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