1955 Porsche 356A: German trendsetter

1955 Porsche 356A: German trendsetter

EngineOpposed 4Horsepower55 BHP (40.48 KW) @ 4400 RPMTorque76 Ft-Lbs (103 NM) @ 2800 RPMEngine LocationRearDrive TypeRWDWeight 2000 lbs | 907.185 kgTransmission4-speed manual

The famous 356A was designed as an updated 356 and was produced from 1955 to 1959. This iconic German roadster quickly became the new trendsetter in the automotive fashion of the 50s. 

Source: Phil Seeds Virtual Car Museum

The Porsche car was always a symbol of prosperity and success. A car for wealthy folk capable not only to earn money but also to spend them properly. For such people, the legendary German manufacturer produced its famous automobiles with innovative approaches and elegant designs. The knowledge and experience gained in the production of racing vehicles were reflected in all their products, particularly in the 356 series, which became the epitome of successful design and the hallmark of the company. In general, all the creations of the legendary brand changed and improved over the history of the company. However, in the case of the 356, the appearance remained almost unchanged over the years: it got the best aerodynamic solution, which became a standard for many automakers.

The origins

Source: Auto Vercity

The 356th model was the brainchild of Ferdinand (Ferry) Porsche – the brand founder’s son. The body design of the iconic roadster belonged to the corporation’s employee Erwin Komenda, and the technical components (engine, suspension, and chassis) were taken from Volkswagen models. Remarkably, Ferdinand created the very first car for personal use, but friends liked the car so much that they convinced Ferry to make more: thus, about 20 more samples were made later. The assembly was manual: no chance of serial production at that time. In such conditions, in 1948, the new roadster was born. Interestingly, it was produced in Austria and originally it was considered the model’s manufacturing country. The result was a sporty, rear-wheel drive, rear-engined, easy-to-handle, and very fast automobile which was destined to become a legend. It was produced in two configurations – hardtop and convertible, and for economical concerns, some parts for the future roadster were borrowed from Volkswagen. Thanks to the success that followed, in the 50s, it was reconstructed and gained its technology. Improvement and modernization continued for years. The remarkable sales and increased brand awareness made its models iconic. Production of the 356 lasted from 1948 to 1965, however, the design and most of the details of the 356 remained unchanged throughout its production: the company paid more attention to technical improvement than to external design.

The 1955 model year

Source: Top Speed

The 356A replaced the original 356 in September 1955, after debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Often it was mentioned as T1 because of its internal index Type1. Consequently, in 1958 this index changed to T2. The 1955 release was a little different from the previous model (1948-1955) – the 356 Pre-A, as the company always followed a policy of incremental improvement rather than a radical redesign. So the new roadster differed from its predecessor only by a one-piece curved windshield (without a central bulkhead), chrome moldings on the sills, and a revised instrument panel with three gauges and 15-inch wheels instead of 16-inch ones. Less noticeable changes that affected handling were the suspension and steering. There were three body styles to choose from: the 2+2 coupe, the 2+2 convertible, and the two-seat Speedster. All of them were built in the Reutter studio in Stuttgart. The four-cylinder air-cooled boxer engine located at the rear of the Porsche 356A was available in four versions: 1300N (1290 cm3, 44 hp), the 1300S (1290 cm3, 60 hp), 1600N (1582 cm3, 60 hp), and 1600S (1582 cm3, 75 hp). “N” and “S” stood for “Normal” and “Super”. All these versions were 8-valve, with an overhead camshaft and OHV, in contrast to the Carrera series engine, which also had 8 valves, but two overhead camshafts (DOHC) and dual ignition with separate distributors. 

Did you know?

Source: Stuttcars

The modification of the Porsche 356A 1500 GS was named in honor of the Porsche 550’s victory at Carrera Panamericana. The Carrera kit could be ordered for each of the three body styles (coupe, convertible, and roadster). In 1958, the engine was increased to 1588 cm3 and the model was designated the Porsche 356A 1600 GS Carrera. 

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1955 Porsche 356A: German trendsetter

EngineOpposed 4Horsepower55 BHP (40.48 KW) @ 4400 RPMTorque76 Ft-Lbs (103 NM) @ 2800 RPMEngine LocationRearDrive TypeRWDWeight 2000 lbs | 907.185 kgTransmission4-speed manual

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