The 1950’s would be the decade that catapulted the Porsche brand onto the international automotive scene. Ferdinand Porsche and his son Ferdinand (Ferry) would release the Porsche 356, the company’s first road-going car, in 1948. With design cues that mimicked the Volkswagen Beetle for which the company’s design team was responsible the Porsche 356 would use many of the same parts as the Beetle. Perhaps the most important milestone for Porsche during the 1950’s, however, was the development of their own engines in the mid-1950’s. Sporting little more than 40 horsepower, this rear-engine car would make Porsche a household name with its nimble handling, comfort and reliability.
If you’re thinking about buying a 1950’s Porsche, one of the most important steps to take is to verify the authenticity of the classic. There are so many kit cars and Porsche 356 knock-offs that uneducated buyers can be easily fooled. Let’s take a look at the different models that were offered during the 1950’s to learn more about their characteristics.
In total, there were more than 76,000 Porsche 356 models manufactured from 1950 until it was discontinued in 1965. During 1948 and 1949, however, Porsche would manufacture approximately 50 hand-built 356 models, of which all were aluminum bodied. Finding one of these original 50 models can be a great find for the avid collector or Porsche enthusiast.
While not an official designation, the Porsche 356 models that were released from 1950 to 1955 are typically referred to as the Pre-A models as to not confuse them with the later 356A’s. Available as a Coupe, Cabriolet or Speedster, they were rather primitive. These early models are becoming exceedingly rare, as collectors that do have them seldom want to part with them. The most sought-after of these are the first approximately 500 models that were built in Porsche’s new Stuttgart facilities.
Replacing the 356 Pre-A models in 1955, the 1950’s Porsche 356A would bring about many significant improvements over the previous models. The suspension would be improved and a true Porsche engine, rather than a Volkswagen engine, would be introduced. Cosmetically, bumper overrider bars were added, taillights were redesigned, and subtle changes to things like door handles would happen. When buying a Porsche 356A, be sure to have the seller authenticate that their model is indeed an original.
As the 1950’s were coming to a close, the 356B would be released in 1959. This particular model would mark the release of the T-5 body style, which would again change to the T-6 body style for later 356B models. While none of the styling changes were radical for the 1950’s 356B, Porsche would continue to make the 356 relevant in the market with subtle changes to styling, comfort, and performance.
If you’d like to explore the 1950’s Porsche 356 models currently available to you, the Beverly Hills Car Club encourages you to browse their online inventory. A California classic car dealership based in Los Angeles, their team is renowned for fair and honest car deals and for having one of the best inventories of classic European and American cars in the industry. Connect with their team today to learn more about their 1950’s Porsche classics collection. They look forward to hearing from you soon and to helping you find the classic you desire.