|Engine||Flat 4-cylinder, 1582cc|
With the new 911 just over the horizon, Porsche released the final incarnation of the still popular 356 in July 1963 and the arrival of the 356C saw Dr Ferdinand Porsche’s design mature into a sophisticated and civilized sports car. Changes were largely confined to technical improvements, most notably the adoption of ATE disc brakes all round, along with 15-inch rims and beefed up synchros on the four-speed gearbox. The handling was further refined with the adoption of a thicker front anti-roll bar and softer torsion bars at the rear, while the steering unit was a new ZF item. The 356C came in either of two pushrod versions, both with more power; the 75 horsepower ‘C’ or the 95 horsepower ‘SC’ - the latter’s output boosted by twin Solex PJJ-4 carburettors, alloy pistons and 9.5:1 compression ratio. Sold in either coupé or cabriolet guises, the only external giveaway to the so-called ‘T6’ bodywork (shared with the 356B) was a new flatter hubcap design, while inside more supportive seats, armrests on the doors and other details made the Porsche’s cabin more comfortable. Contemporary road tests praised the 356C’s superb engineering, refinement and handling - noted writer Ken Purdy stated that the Porsche “… delivers more sheer sensual pleasure than anything else on wheels” while Car & Driver said “there’s nothing like it at any price.” The 356C remained in production alongside the new 911 for several months, the final example rolling off the production line on April 28, 1965, bringing an important chapter in Zuffenhausen’s history to a close. As the last of the line, the 356C was the most thoroughly developed, practical and reliable 356 ever made and, like all good Porsches, they remain eminently useable classic today. Best of all, the ‘C’ is the one of the most affordable 356 variants, offering tremendous value for money compared with earlier models.