1960 Porsche 356B Coupe (Project)
|Engine||Flat four-cylinder, 1582cc|
The 356 can fairly be described as the car that put Porsche on the map, the unconventional rear-mounted flat-four engine starting a tradition that continues to the present day. The earliest 356s were somewhat underpowered and very primitive in terms of equipment but, by the late 1950s, had matured into an altogether more sophisticated sports car, with plenty of creature comforts. In September 1959, the most radical development of the 356 was announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with an entirely restyled body – designated the T5 – featuring different bumpers and revised front wings with the headlamps mounted higher up. In 1961, Porsche announced a Roadster variant to fill the gap between the spartan Speedster and the more luxurious Cabriolet, joining the existing Coupé. The chassis also underwent some revision and the tendency towards oversteer was reduced (radial tyres as standard fitment helped in this regard), while the floorpan was altered to increase rear passenger space. The new 356B was available with three different pushrod engines, the 1600 and 1600S continuing unchanged but with the addition of new Super 90 featuring twin-choke carburettors, larger inlet valves and a reworked cylinder head to increase power output. The brakes were improved, with better friction linings and the drums now had 72 light alloy ribs to keep them cool. Sales of the 356B reflected the enduring popularity of the model, with 30,963 built between 1959 and 1963. The 356B remains an excellent compromise between simple charm and purity of the early.