1959 Porsche 356A Roadster

The 1959 Porsche 356A Roadster is a beautiful collector car. The creation of the Porsche 356 goes all the way back to pre World War Two Germany and the work of  Dr. Ferdinand Porsche. What began as a Volkswagen Beetle and years later in 1939 a prototype Porsche would three years after the war become the famous Porsche 356. It was the Porsche 356 model sports car that launched the Porsche brand.

porsche 356a

1959 Porsche 356A

Dr. Ferdinand Porsche

Although he started his career in the automobile business in 1898 in Vienna, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, an automobile engineer with an Austrian-Czech background, came into much acclaim in Germany prior to World War Two.His engineering skills were also put to use by the German government during the 1930's with tank designs and various weaponry designs.

Ferdinand Porsche founded his company in 1931 in Austria prior to relocating to Stuttgart, Germany. The company did not start out as an automaker but rather as an engineering consulting firm. Before building automobiles under his own name, Porsche is credited with developing, at the behest of Adolph Hitler, the Volkswagen Beetle. This was called "the people's car" which was intended as a civilian vehicle but was made into a military model during the war.

1959 porsche

The First Porsche Automobile After the War

The very first car under the Porsche name was introduced in 1939. This was the Porsche 64 and was short lived. While this Porsche 64 model was different than the first Porsche 356 that came out after the war, there were some similarities that were carried over to the first Porsche 356.

After the war in March 1948, in a small factory in Gmünd, Austria, Ferry Porsche, son of engineer Dr.  Ferdinand Porsche, designed and built a small two-seater sports car, which would be the first car to bear his family’s name. This was the Porsche 356 which would literally define Porsche automobiles up to 1965. AS they lacked any credit, the Porsche family had to ask for payment in advance from VW auto dealers to get Porsche 356 production started. Under fifty Porsche 356's were built the first year.

As a side note, in 1948, the younger Porsche and his father, Ferdinand Porsche Sr., were imprisoned in France for alleged war crimes for working with the Nazi government. Ferry Porsche served just six months but the elder Porsche ended up spending 22 months in prison.

The Design

The Porsche 356 was light, sporty and had rear engine placement. The Porsche brand acquired an excellent reputation for craftsmanship. Years later, the 356A model was a further enhancement of the original 356 with a curved one piece windshield, additional specialized Porsche components and a larger choice of engines.

Porsche would eventually build a 356B model and a 356C model between 1960 and 1965. The 356C was the last of the 356 model line.

1959 Porsche 356 Roadster Specifications

Two engines were available for 1959. These were a 1582cc ohv flat four delivering 50-75 HP. The other was a 1588cc dohc flat four putting out 121 to 132 HP. Maximum speed for the car was rated at 100 MPH.

The automobile had a wheelbase of 82.7 inches, a length of 155.5 inches, a width of 65.4 inches and a height of 51.6 inches. Curb weight was rated at 1,800 lbs.

Gearbox was a four speed manual. Brakes were four wheel drum. Suspension was independent front and rear.

See the additional Auto Museum Online articles on the links below...

1962 Porsche Carrera 2

1974 Porsche 914

A few interesting books regarding Ferdinand Porsche and the Porsche automobiles include...Ferdinand Porsche and the Volkswagen by Porsche Ag.....The Book of the Porsche 356 by author Brian Long.

1959 Porsche Roadster

Porsche Collector Cars

Porsche automobiles are some of the finest collector cars available. Porsche automobiles are luxury sports cars which have the chance to appreciate over time depending on the model. The cars have a reputation for quality craftsmanship and generally have had good resale values.

The more original the car is, the past ownership of the car, and its racing history, if any, all factor in a car’s value. In Porsche, you can see 80 years of a single approach to design from 1948 onwards.

As of this writing, depending on exactly which 1959 Porsche model you're looking at and it's condition, asking prices for those offered for sale may range from $45,000 to $250,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)



A Fine Collector Car / 1962 Porsche Carrera 2

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.

1962 porsche carrera 2

1962 Porsche Carrera 2

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 Carrera was offered both in a Carrera GT Deluxe version for the road and the Carrera GT for the racetrack.

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.

porsche carrera

Porsche Carrera

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.

porsche carrera dashboard

62 Porsche Carrera 2 dashboard

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 356 carrera

1962 Porsche 356B Carrera

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.

See these additional AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

The 1974 Porsche 914

The Powerful 1974 MG BGT V-8

A 1973 Porsche 911T

1959 Porsche 356A Roadster

porsche 356 carerra 2

62 Porsche 356B Carerra 2

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)

The 1974 Porsche 914 / A Porsche-VW Collaboration

The Porsche 914 as featured in this article was among the 914 models built from 1970 through 1976. The car was first unveiled in 1969 at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

1974 Porsche 914

1974 Porsche 914

This model was to replace the Porsche 912 and was an effort to appeal to the mass car market. Not that Porsche was ever thought of as an automobile for the masses but this was their intent with the 914. The 1974 Porsche also represents a close collaboration with Volkswagen as the automaker had done once before.

A Low Priced Sports Car

The Porsche 914 was meant to be a light weight sports car with rear wheel drive that was intended to be affordable to many. The collaboration between Porsche and Volkswagen would also allow for fewer manufacturing costs. When the Porsche 914 was first introduced in 1970 the car was priced at about $3,500. Not a bad price at all even in 1974 with a sports car fashioning a Porsche emblem.

Porsche 914 Styling

The Porsche 914 was without a grille but did feature flip-up headlights. One body style was offered and that was the notchback coupe with a lift off roof panel. Some of the car's interior resembled the Porsche 911 but a good deal of VW hardware was also used. This Porsche model also featured two trunks. Not bad at all for a sports car.

porsche 914 front end

Porsche 914 flip-up headloghts

The Porsche 914 engine was placed behind the cabin.

Porsche 914 Sales and Marketing

Volkswagen's interest in this car was that the automaker needed something different than it's Beetle. A sports car would fit the bill but they needed the experience of Porsche to enter the field. Make no mistake however, while VW was a partner in this project and they were the one's who marketed the car, the Porsche 914, regardless of it being called at the time in Europe, a VW-Porsche, the sports car was considered a Porsche by the American car buying public.

The arrangement by the two European automakers certainly was different. The Porsche 914 was the only Porsche model that the automaker gave up it's own rights to market. The agreement between the two automakers was even more complicated when the chairman of VW passed away in 1968 prior to actual production.

porsche 914 dash

1974 Porsche 914 dash

Quite a lot has been written about how disappointing the Porsche 914 was, especially in sales. The fact is that the Porsche 914 was received pretty well in the U.S. Better than it was overseas but still not to what was hoped for. Some design flaws were uncovered with the first models. They were remedied by Porsche but as often happens, bad press has a habit of snowballing and this did hurt sales.

The press at the time seemed to fixate on the VW / Porsche collaboration as a negative without giving the car excellent grades on engineering. The car structurally was built very well.

One drawback pointed out however was that the Porsche 914 was equipped with a 1.7 liter VW flat four engine and this wasn't thought by many to be what sports cars are about. There were also problems with the transmission linkage which hurt engine performance even more. Some also suggested that access to the engine was difficult and that the cabin space was limited. The cabin space had good width but the length/ leg area was a bit short. On the plus side the removable targa top was made to easily store in one of the trunk compartments.

porsche wheels

Classic Porsche wheels

A New Engine and a New Price

By the 1973 model year, things changed for the better. The 1973 Porsche 914 came out with a 2.0 liter six cylinder engine. The transmission issue was also fixed and the remainder of the car was pretty much the same. The new six cylinder engine was very well received and seemed to change many perceptions regarding the 914. Press reviews of the car also changed entirely simply with adding the new engine. Also changed was the price tag. The 1973 911 had a price tag north of $5,000. Prices in the U.S. also shot up in part because of the exchange rate at the time.

1974 Porsche 911 Specifications

As mentioned above, the Porsche 914 introduced in 1970 had a 1.7 liter VW air cooled flat-four engine. A flat-four has two banks of two cylinders each arranged horizontally. Beginning in 1973 the Porsche 914 sported a 2.0 liter six. This change appeared to satisfy both car buyers and auto critics. All engines had cast-aluminum cylinder heads and Bosch electronic fuel injection.

targa top on Porsche 914

Porsche 914 targa top

Transmission was a five speed manual.

The Porsche 914 had independent suspension with a front torsion bar which was a duplicate of the 911's.

The Porsche 914 came with front disc brakes.

Porsche 914 dimensions included a 96.5 inch wheelbase, a length of 158.0 inches, a height of 48.0 inches and a weight of about 2,100 lbs. The 914 was lower than the 911 Porsche by four inches.

One production figure seen for the Porsche 914 was 115,596 cars. This was the total over the entire production run. 1974 Porsche 914 production was 21,370 vehicles.

Compare the 1974 Porsche 914 to the cars on the AutoMuseumOnline articles linked below...

The 1974 MG BGT V-8

The 1973 Porsche 911T

The 1971 Triumph Spitfire

A Restored 1971 Datsun 240 Z

porsche 914 rear

1974 Porsche 914 rear

The Porsche 914 Makes a Good Collector Car

It took awhile but the Porsche 914 has become a popular sports car among collectors. Since they are not the easiest automobiles to find because of the relatively low production number, they have had rising value. The lowest production year was the model's last, 1976. Even these low numbers however are more than total Porsche 911 production. If you're looking for a Porsche 914 to restore your challenge will be to find one without rust or without bad rust. The cars did gain a reputation of above average rusting.

Two well known Porsche car clubs which are always good resources for owners and prospective owners include the Porsche Club of America at www.pca.org and the Porsche 914 Owners Association at www.porsche914.org

One of the more popular Porsche 914's you'll want is the 1973 or 1974 model with the 2.0 liter six cylinder engine. These were the models that had the original problems ironed out.

As of this date, price tags on mint conditioned Porsche 914's range from the mid teens upward. The asking prices today cover a wide range. Low mileage obviously helps as does a rust free chassis. Originality is also important to price. You'll also find showroom condition restored 914's in the $30,000 range upwards.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)