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The First True Production Model Porsche - The Porsche 356

Aug 17, 2007
Even though the Porsche 64 is considered by many to be the first car produced by the company it was really only a test car and was never built as a production automobile, in fact only three were built. The 364 was built by Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche after design by Erwin Komenda, while getting its engine modeled after the VW Beetle.

The 356 was offered in the beginning as a coupe, a cabriolet, and a roadster and before being taken off the market in 1965 it underwent several modifications. The models that were the most wanted were the Super 90, the Speedster, and the 356 Carrera which often fetches over $150,000 now. The original selling price for a Porsche in the latter 1950's was only $4,000.

Max Hoffman was the only Porsche importer in the United States back then and wanted a lower priced, speedy version to market to Americans. So in 1954 the company manufactured the 356 Speedster with a removable windshield, bucket seats, and a very basic folding top. The Speedster production peaked at 1,171 cars in 1957 and was replaced in 1959 by the Convertible model D which featured a taller and more practical windshield as well as more comfortable seating.

The original 356 was featured in many Hollywood films and now brings over $100,000 at auto specialty auctions and through private dealers, if you are lucky enough to find one.

Even though minor modifications were made to it, the basic shape of the Porsche 356 stayed unchanged and its signature look was easily distinguished from others. The coupe and cabriolet editions were made each year until 1965 but the last 356 Roadster was made two years earlier.

In 1964 when Porsche introduced the popular 911, 356 vehicle production was at 14,151 and the company offered the 356 through 1965 as a lower cost alternative to the more pricey 911 which was twice that of the 356. Due to the complaining of customers that the price of the 911 was too high the company came out with the 912 which featured the cheaper engine of the 356 and it was sold until 1969.

Currently the Porsche 356 is a desirable and respected collector classic and was named on the top 10 list of the best sports cars of the 1960's by Sports Car International. Today thousands of Porsche 356 owners carry on the tradition with well preserved vehicles that are driven on a regular basis.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is an author and internet marketing consultant living in Navarre Florida. For more on performance auto parts for your car go to http://www.performanceautopartsplus.com
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