Engine: 1,582 CC OHV Air-Cooled Flat 4-Cylinder
Horsepower: 60 bhp at 4,500 rpm
Transmission: 4-Speed Manual Transaxle
A Little History
The 356, Porsche’s first production automobile produced from 1948 to 1965, was created by Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche, son of the founder of the German company who also designed the Volkswagen Beetle.
Ferry Porsche described the thinking behind the development of the 356 in an interview with the editor of Panorama in September 1972: “I had always driven very speedy cars. I had an Alfa Romeo and others…By the end of the war I had a Volkswagen Cabriolet with a supercharged engine and that was the basic idea. I saw that if you had enough power in a small car it is nicer to drive than if you have a big car which is also overpowered. And it is more fun.”
By the time the 356B arrived in September 1959, Porsche’s first sports car had gained a one-piece rounded windscreen and 15″-diameter wheels and an engine now standardized at 1,600cc. The 901 (later called the 911) ultimately replaced the 356 in carrying the Porsche name forward, debuting at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. In 1960, Car and Driver magazine reviewed the 356B as “not so much a ‘car’ as a sealed ‘machine for traveling.’” In this sense, the Porsche is the simplest definition of the term Gran Turismo—a machine that is “grand” for “touring.”
“Many so-called Grand Touring cars are a wow to drive when they’re running right and hell to own when they’re not. Their laconic construction soon makes them an annoyance; a source of worry and fatigue. A Porsche’s excitement is as much intellectual as visceral; the pride and pleasure of ownership comes not only from its characteristic comfort, controllability and roadability, but also its freedom from temperament. Simply: the absence of pain. Its dependability can be taken as much for granted as that of a Chevy station wagon—you can toss in a girl and some luggage and shove off, never having any trepidation about the romance of the car, the road, the girl, being punctured by mechanical disaster. It’s that kind of car.” — Car and Driver, October 1963
The 356B shown here was completed on September 19, 1962, finished in Champagne Yellow, and generously equipped with 13 factory options. Due to its distinctive color, it has been nicknamed “Buttercup” throughout its ownership history. Retains matching-numbers engine and transaxle, verified by Porsche Kardex with Certificate of Authenticity.