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.
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.
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 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...
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.
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)