31 July 2017

More than an old car #29: Porsche 356

Porsches are a common sight on our roads despite the rather expensive price tags, and most of you may have heard of the famous 911 that comes in many forms. The brand name is also associated with flashy sports cars driven by rich people. However, it all began with the humble Porsche 356, which many consider to be the first car made by Porsche.

Porsche, or more formally known as "Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche Gesellschaft mit beschr√§nkter Haftung", was founded by Ferdinand Porsche himself in 1931. In case you are wondering why the name is so long, it stands for "Doktor Ingenieur honoris causa Ferdinand Porsche". 'Doktor Ingenieur' refers to 'Doctor of Engineering', 'honoris causa' means 'honorary degree' and the latter part in German is the equivalent of a 'Limited Liability Company'. It is a mouthful to say it, but I'm sure none of you were aware of this until a few minutes ago!

The design of the 356 began in 1948, where the founders envisioned a powerful yet light small car. It had a unibody construction, where the entire car body is manufactured rather than welded together like modern vehicles. It became popular in the 1950s when enthusiasts noted its aerodynamics, handling and beautiful aesthetics. Throughout its production span, there were 4 distinct series, namely the 356, 356A, 356B and 356C. The cars in the pictures are the A, B and C series in order. As seen here, there are not much visual differences between the 3 of them. 

The green 1959 356A was powered by a 1582cc 4-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 177km/h with an acceleration of 13.5 seconds [0-60mph]. It was 3.95m long and weighed 820kg
The blue 1961 356B was powered by a 1600cc 4-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 163km/h with an acceleration of 13.9 seconds [0-100km/h]. It was 4.01m long and weighed 838kg.
The red 1965 356C was powered by a 1600cc 4-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 185km/h with an acceleration of 11.8 seconds [0-100km/h]. It was 4.01m long and weighed 935kg.

Production ended in 1965 with around 76,000 made, of which 21,045 were 356As, 30,963 were 356Bs and 16,678 were 356Cs. About half are known to survive today and there are 6/7 of them on our roads, including the ones in the picture! The Porsche 356 is a popular collector car and it really takes pure dedication to keep the tradition alive. I am really drawn to its elegant curves and its aura of grandness. If you get to see one in person, you would know what I mean!

PS: Shoutout to Luxglove and Robb Report Singapore for organising this Classic Car Exhibition! More photos will be up soon, please stay tuned!

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