There are numerous reasons why the 356 series came into being, and also why Porsche became a major sports car manufacturer; the main one is that Professor Porsche was very impressed with what Piero Dusio was doing with uprated Fiat parts in the construction of his Cisitalias. These were excellent little sports and racing cars and Dr. Porsche wondered if he could do the same with Volkswagen parts. The first 356 was sold in July 1948, and production continued right through to 1965 in various guises and with numerous engines.
As the company’s first production model, the Porsche 356 set a new standard for small sports cars and gained its laurels in all manner of circuit racing and rallying.
From the earliest, 1100 cc Gmünd beginnings, the overall shape of the 356 remained more or less set. In 1951, 1300 and 1500 cc engines with considerably more power were introduced. By late 1952 the divided windscreen was gone, replaced by a V-shaped unit which fit into the same opening. In 1953, the 1300 S or “Super” was introduced, and the 1100 cc engine was dropped. In late 1954 Max Hoffman, the sole US importer of Porsches, convinced Porsche to build a stripped down roadster version with minimal equipment and a cut-down windscreen. Towards the end of the original 356’s time (in 1955, when the 356 A was about to be introduced) Hoffman, wanting a model name rather than just a number got the factory to use the name “Continental” which was applied mostly to cars sold in the United States. Ford, makers of the Lincoln Continental, sued.
This name was used only in 1955 and today this version is especially valued. For 1956, the equivalent version was briefly sold as the “European”. Today all of the earliest Porsches are highly coveted by collectors and enthusiasts worldwide based on their design, reliability and sporting performance. Only 228 of the latter made it in before the fender script was changed from “Continental” to “European”. Fully-loaded from the start, it was the first genuinely luxurious Porsche to be offered.
This simply stunning 1955 Continental Cabriolet, fitted with the more powerful 1500cc motor, has just benefitted from an exhaustive restoration to an exceptional standard, which has only just been completed. Finished in Azure blue with a beige leather interior, the 356 can only be described as outstanding in every respect. Offered with a detailed valuation report, this is without any doubt both a true collector’s quality example and also a highly usable classic cabriolet for the summer months.