The Porsche 356 model was the first production sports car model from the company and it's design essentially stayed unchanged during it's entire production run. The Porsche 356, particularly the higher performance Carrera models, has also been a top and highly valued collector sports car and remains so.
The 1962 Porsche Carrera 2 featured in this article is a higher performance model of the basic Porsche 356. The difference with the Carrera model had to do with it's engine and the Porsche 356 Carrera 2's could attain speeds of 125 MPH. The Carrera engine was a four cam four cylinder model tuned to deliver 128 horsepower. Other engine configurations were delivering even higher horsepower.
The Porsche Background
The Porsche has been a very popular German automobile which has it’s history going back to the 1930′s. The formal name of the firm is Porsche Automobil Holding SE and is located in Stuttgart Germany.
When the company was founded in 1931 by Ferdinand Porsche, the company's work was actually in the realm of automotive development work and consulting rather than attempting to operate as a full scale manufacturer. That would come later after World War Two.
Eventually however, in it’s early years, the company designed at the request of the German government, the first Volkswagen Beetle, a car that remains very popular in America to this very day. The Porsche 64 model which is considered the first Porsche automobile built by the company and had many VW Beetle characteristics incorporated in it.The Porsche 64 however was a prototype automobile and was not a production car. Nevertheless, it was the precursor to Porsche's first 356 model.
An interesting side note is that Porsche developed a military use version of the VW Beetle for the German government during World War Two.
The Porsche 356
The Porsche 356, Porsche's first production sports car used the Volkswagen platform with it's rear engine placement. As mentioned above, the Porsche 356 was an extension of the prototype Porsche 64. It had a flat four engine similar to the VW Beetle but was customized to deliver about 100 horsepower.
One similarity to the VW was simply that the first Porsche sports cars utilized just about all the spare VW parts they could. One difference was that the first Porsche bodies were not separate from the frame which was significant at the time.
There was also a distinct difference between VW and Porsche in as much as the former was set up for volume production to the masses where Porsche really was aimed at the sports car and performance buyer. Time only made the differences more divergent between the two brands especially when you're talking about the drive train and suspension.
The Flat Four Engine
Porsche used the flat four air cooled VW engine in the first of it's 356 models. These are also called the boxer engine. In short, the engine design allows for opposite pistons to move back and forth in opposing directions. Benefits are a lower center of gravity, better balance and a shorter engine. Some disadvantages include a longer exhaust pipe required due to the exhaust pulse of this configuration as well as a higher production cost compared to inline engines.
Porsche Carrera 2 Specifications
All Porsche automobiles with race tuned engines were given the Carrera name. More than just a model name, the Carrera model represented a particular race-bred version of Porsche’s classic flat-four engine configured by Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann, using twin ignition, two dual-throat carburetors, and, most significantly, four-cam valve actuation rather than single-cam pushrods.
As mentioned above, the Porsche Carrera 2 was a Porsche 356 model with a bit more power. The car had a 2.0 liter flat "Boxer" four cylinder engine mounted in the rear. The Carrera 2 delivered 128 horsepower with a top speed of 124 MPH.
Transmission was a four speed manual.
Brakes were four wheel disc designed and manufactured by Porsche. This was called the Porsche ATE system. The four wheel disc brakes worked well keeping the car's performance in check.
Suspension was independent front and rear.
The car's wheelbase was 82.7 inches with an overall outside length of 158.0 inches. Width was 65.8 inches and height 52.3 inches. Weight was 2,220 lbs.
The Porsche 356B Carrera 2's were built from 1962 through 1964. Total Porsche 356B Carrera 2 production numbered 1,810 vehicles from 1962 through 1963. The 356C Carrera 2's built from 1963 through 1965 totaled 2,134 cars.
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1962 Porsche 356 Carrera 2 Collector Car
These sports cars are highly collectible and come with a relatively high price tag. The 1962 Porsche 356 Carrera 2 in finely restored condition will have an asking price in the six figures. Might not be a car for every collector's budget but the vehicles are classics.
To give you an idea of current prices for those on the market, a 1962 Carrera 2 two door coupe is showing sold for just over $200,000. Several other 1962 Carrera 2 models sold for over $300,000.
(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)