Porsche 356 (pre-A) Coupé im Studio von René Staud

Porsche 356 - the first production car from Porsche

Ferdinand Porsche had long been mulling over producing a sportscar, and in 1939, he developed the prototype for the Porsche 356
Porsche 356 (pre-A) Coupé Heck
Porsche 356 (pre-A) Coupé Front

Porsche 356 (pre-A) Coupé “Geteiltscheibe” Year of construction: 1950 Maximum speed: 142 km/h

This famous model from the 50s and 60s would eventually become the Porsche 911. Here are seven variations of this sportscar from my book My Porsche Book – The Legendary 356:


Porsche 356-Typ 64

Ferdinand Porsche had long been considering building a sportscar variant of the Volkswagen, and shortly before the outbreak of WWII, he espied an opportunity: a long distance race was being planned from Berlin to Rome for the year 1938, and so, he set about developing a test car.

This was the Porsche “Typ 64,” also known as the “Berlin-Rome Car,” the prototype for the Porsche 356. With its 40 hp, the test car could hit 140 km/h.

At the time, the only way for Ferdinand Porsche to build the small frontal area required for such a racecar was to offset the seating for the pilot and co-pilot.

Three prototypes were built, only one still exists largely in its original form. This Berlin-Rome car in the photo was perfectly reconstructed based on many original parts of a Type 64 found in Austria.

Porsche 356-Typ 64 fotografiert von René Staud

»The 1939 test car is the forefather of the famous sportscar.«

Porsche 356 Nummer 1


75 years ago, in June 1948, the Porsche 356 “No. 1” Roadster received its general operating license, thereby fulfilling “Ferry” Porsche’s dream and launching the success story of the Stuttgart-based car manufacturer.

Porsche will celebrate this anniversary in June with a major jubilee show in Zuffenhausen.

Porsche 356-grünes Juwel in einem Parkhaus


In 1954, Porsche rolled a 60 hp coupé off its assembly line. This model, painted jade green-metallic, belongs to the French car collector Benoît Couturier.

What is so special about this car is that it was completely restored in 1998, and, minus a few kilometers, it hasn’t been driven since. 

Porsche sold 1,300 models of this coupé in 1954.

Porsche 356 grünes Juwel Seite

The dashboard of the Porsche 356 (pre-A) 1600 exceptionally features more than the three traditional circular instrument displays.

»This car was completely restored and hasn’t been driven since.«

A good-looking couple, full of contrasts: the elegant 356 A Coupé to the left offers comfort for the long haul, while the flat 356 A Speedster is for adrenaline rushes


This Porsche 356 A Coupé also dates to 1954. US importer Max Hoffman asked and negotiated with Porsche to build an economical “entry-level model”: the “Speedster,” combining “Speed” and the “Roadster.”

The car had inexpensive window blinds, a thinner fabric top, a sparse interior… and is now one of the most expensive Porsche 356s to drive.

»When you have this kind of a classic car, people come up to you all the time. They just can’t believe that something like this still exists.«

Porsche 356 bei Nacht in Paris


The factory only delivered 629 models of this car in 1955. This was one of the first coupés in the Porsche 356 family. Like the “Green Gem,” this car belongs to the French car collector Benoît Couturier.

A sporty and elegant Fahrvergnügen: this beautiful coupé is painted in Sahara-Beige, a very light yellow, down to the bumper. The customary steering wheel with its three Bakelite spokes is here available only in a two-spoke version.

This 1955 coupé could hit a stunning 160 km/h. Just for the sake of comparison, the VW Bug could barely make it to 110 km/h at the time.

»Paris was the perfect setting for this beauty, which Benoît Couturier made available to use for the shoot.«


You can tell already from the paintjob that there is something special about this Porsche 356. It belonged to US racing legend Bruce Jennings, and it was the fastest (and winningest) Speedster on the racetrack.

Jennings – also known as “King Carrera” – wanted the sharpest version of this car from Porsche. And so, he received the Porsche 356 A Carrera 1500 GS, which is recognizable, among other traits, for the six air intake vents to the left and right of the ventilation grill.

The 1959 Gran Turismo Speedster weighs 850 kg, and its 220 km/h make it one of the fastest Speedsters ever.

>> Best of Car Photography – How the most unique cars came to my studio from the world over

»Racing legend Bruce Jennings obviously wanted the raciest version possible of the Porsche 356.«

Porsche-Bruce Jennings
Porsche 356 Bruce-Jennings-Heck


After I built my Leonberg studio in the 1980s, people often told me that they wished they could see these marvelous sportscars built in Zuffenhausen photographed somewhere on location, and so, it wasn’t long before we began spending day after day photographing these iconic Porsches out and about in the world.

Years ago, we published pictures of all the most unique and beautiful models of the Porsche 356 in a coffee table book. Everything you see in this blogpost comes from that volume.

The two hundred-some pages of “My Porsche Book” contain dozens of variants of this legendary sportscar, from the “Typ 64” to the last models of this icon built in 1965.

If you order a copy of the book here from my E-Shop, I would be happy to inscribe it with a personal dedication:

Porsche 356 - Carrera


This amazing car belongs to the French collector Claude Picasso. Clocking in at 230 km/h, this model built in 1960 is the lightest, fastest, and most expensive Porsche 356 ever built.

It was developed by Porsche’s friend Carlo Abarth, an Italian car manufacturer who specialized in small sportscars.

Porsche only sold 21 cars of this type.

>> Of course we have also photographed the most expensive car in the world, the famous “Uhlenhaut Coupé.”

»Driving a collector’s car through hairpin turns – the Carrera GTL Abarth is the most expensive model.«

Porsche 356 Kalender


I began presenting my best shots of the Porsche 356 in an art calendar in 1999, from the “Knickscheibe“ to the 356 Speedster to the last model ever built, the 356 C.

Like the following edition, it is a perpetual calendar, with open days, and it remains a popular collector’s item to this day.

A few years later, in the early 1960s, the Porsche 911 replaced the by-then aging Porsche 356. A bit longer than its predecessor and a few centimeters narrower, with bigger windows, a more contemporary interior, and better engine performance, the 911 was presented in 1963 and first built in 1964.

With their revolutionary form, aerodynamics, and purity of design, Zuffhausen’s sports cars have always approached perfection, from their earliest days up to the present. Still today, I am astonished by the genial shape of this sportscar, and I hope that I have succeeded in conveying that feeling in my photographs.

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