Ferdinand 'Ferry' Porsche's 356 sports car were inspired by the FIAT-based Cisitalias of Piero Dusio. The 356 were based on the Volkswagen designed by his father, and similar to the Beetle utilized a platform-type chassis with rear-mounted air-cooled engines and all-independent torsion bar suspension. The Porsche 356 was introduced in 1948 and immediately set a new standard for small sports cars and proved adaptable to all forms of motorsports including rally and circuit racing. A works car finished first in the 1,100cc class at the 151 Le Mans 24 Hour Race.
Porsche continued to develop and refine the 356 with a focus on performance, and by the late 1950s, fewer parts were shared with its pedestrian cousin. The 356's engine grew to 1.3 and then to 1.5 liters. The original split windscreen was later replaced by a one-piece unit, and a Porsche synchromesh gearbox adopted. The restyled 356A made its appearance in 1955, distinguished by its curved windscreen and 15-inch (down from 16-inch) wheels.
Between 1948 and 1966, over 76,000 examples were produced.
Cabriolets had been part of the 356 production from the start, but the Speedster - introduced in 1954 - was the first open Porsche to make a significant impact. After a successful reception in the U.S. of a batch of 15 special roadsters, the Speedster entered production. The Reutter-bodied Speedster was dropped in 1958 and replaced by the Convertible D, a more civilized vehicle with additional creature comforts for everyday driving, most notably the larger windscreen and winding side windows.
The Porsche 356B arrived in September of 1959. It had a one-piece rounded windscreen, 15-inch diameter wheels, and styling revisions. The engine was now standardized at 1600c and available in three different stages of tune. The most powerful variant, apart from the four-cam Carrera, was the 90 horsepower unit of the Super 90.By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2018