With exhibitions again allowed in Belgium, Autoworld in Brussels has opened a temporary celebration of the Porsche 356, which blows its 70 candles this year.
Stemming from the VW Beetle, i.e. with very humble origins, the 356 turned into a real fast car over the years, if not a genuine sports car. Low drag, good aerodynamics, and most importantly good power to weight ratio gave the car reasonable oomph.
The first prototype was assembled in aluminium in Gmünd, Austria in 1948, before being named 356 and built in Zuffenhausen, in conventional metal, by Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche, son of the controversial founder of the brand.
At the time, it was a well-rounded, frog-like little coupé, with, in my humble opinion, not very desirable looks. This blue car already looks better if only for the color:
Soon after a roadster version was made available.
Despite being flawed because of a humble engine (the original air cooled, flat four 1,1 liter) which is rear mounted which means you have to react promptly not to be overtaken by the latter in curves, especially in wet weather), it was well liked because of its nimbleness, handling and good build quality.
It is interesting to note that, in the original prototype, the engine was mid mounted, but that idea did not become a reality in production. Numerous versions were developed over time.
A special rooftop version named “Speedster” was offered to the public in 1954 at the request of the American market.
To make itself known, Porsche raced the 356 in various races, including Le Mans, where it earned a class win as early as 1951. 1955 saw the release of a major new version, the 356A, which included the change of the windscreen for a nowadays “normal” one instead of the split one in the earlier models.
Again, the car continued its racing career, also in rallies as this model exemplifies.
The engine has now been enlarged to 1,6L and the horsepower produced are around twice that of the original car. Regular rooftops (as opposed to Speedsters) continue being offered.
The interior has also been revamped with a dashboard now close to that which we will see in the first 911s.
The car was also liked by police forces around Europe starting with Germany.
In 1965, the 911 model equipped with a more potent 6 cylinder engine was introduced and the 356 gracefully bowed out. The 356 has become a collector’s item over the years and some models can easily reach 6 digit figures if they are in good condition (i.e. “matching numbers” between chassis and engine, indicating they belong to each other)
All in all, the quality of the cars shown was impressive, and I enjoyed taking a few shots for this article.
All pictures were taken with my usual Sony A7 mark 3 equipped with a Cosina Voigtländer 21mm.
This was also the opportunity for me to put the new version of Capture one, release 20, to the test.
In particular, what encouraged me to upgrade is the supposed ease to use the new cloning tool : instead of creating a mask for each modification, one now simply picks up the eraser and surrounds the area where one wants to take out something.
Capture one looks at the surrounding area and proposes the cloning source, which can easily be changed if unsatisfactory. Very impressive and easy to use.
As explained in earlier articles, I long resisted taking pictures in raw because I did not want to spend too much time/effort to improve my pictures.
Since moving to the A7 mk 3 a little over two years ago, I joined the bandwagon with the offered C1 license with any new Sony full frame. This new version, which can be had at a reduced price when holder of an older paid version, especially if you buy at a promo time, comes highly recommended.
More details on cloning can be seen here https://youtu.be/LSnXNHUqYB0.
Never miss a post
Like what you are reading? Subscribe below and receive all posts in your inbox as they are published. Join the conversation with thousands of other creative photographers.
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new tab. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.
To answer your [rhetorical] question, I’d rather not. German police are scarier than the ones I’m used to. And the thought of being pursued by an overgrown Beetle is even worse.
My neighbour is renovating the shops he owns, next to my house, and making horrible thumping noises right now – I’ve twice suggested to him it was time he went home for dinner (it’s after 8pm) but he has yet to take the hint. He has half a dozen of these beasts, and races them at the speedway – that something else he should stop, he’s over 50 and you need to be a bit younger than that, to race cars, I think.
I’ve suggested he should buy the EV Porsche, since he loves them so much – but he’s a total petrol head, and prefers the roar when he flattens his foot on the accelerator, so he refuses to even consider the idea.
Interesting comment on COP – does “background” extend to changing skies? – sometimes the sky can be too bland and boring, and needs a bit more buzz to make the picture work.
I was particularly impressed with how it handles the area behind the windscreen! That is SERIOUSLY good!
Thank you for you humorous comment Pete.
The tool I tested most with this new version of C1 is the cloning one. On the yellow drop head 356, there were numerous lights that were drawing one’s attention away from the subject which I was able to switch off effortlessly with that tool.
There is of course an altering tool, efficient as well, however I will confess it did not contribute to making the background of the red 356 Speedster.
One of the things I like with C1 is that their numerous tutorial videos are well done, expeditious, easy to understand and to the point (please note I do not have experience with other tutorial videos, though, so am not able to compare).
Finally a small suggestion for your neighbor. I do believe that the EV Porsche can be programmed to replicate the sound – for the aficionados – or noise for others of petrol versions. This may convince him to leave you in peace ??
You make me feel a little guilty, Pascal – after my initial fling with my second hand Kodak Box Brownie, I saved my pocket money until I could afford to buy a Voigtländer Bessa II – dadd had the original Voigtländer Bessa, but by that stage it was possible to pick up a second hand Bessa II. Loved it – but then I experimented further, with a Zeiss Super Ikonta – and the rest is history. Zeiss, Zeiss, Zeiss, for half a century, and now once again Zeiss. I’m afraid I’ve abandoned my early love, the Voigtländer of my youth, in favour of another contender.
Being born in 1942 and coming out of the shadows of WW2, these cameras – coupled with my love of music (Mozart – Mendelssohn – Beethoven – etc) – kept me from becoming involved in the “anti” sentiments hurled around all over the place in those years. I’m glad – because few people in those days fully understood what they were talking about anyway. Never mind – this is not the forum to start that kind of discussion.
F/3.5 is surely “fast enough”, for most purposes. I have a number of lenses that are faster – several at F/1.4 – and really, by choice I generally stop down. With our modern gear, F/3.5 at 3200 ISO is perfectly OK, and equivalent F/1.4 at 400 ISO. Plenty of latitude left, to choose a suitable shutter speed. I don’t doubt there are times when you wouldn’t choose those combinations, but they won’t ruin the photo if you need to use them.
And the plus is – (1) the lens will be way cheaper (2) the lens will be way less bulky** and (3) the lens will weigh less. So the idea throws up some interesting options.
**[In stark contrast to my 28mm Otus, or my SIGMA 150-600 Sport!]
Since I will never have the opportunity to indulge myself by buying every lens out there to try such things for myself, it’s interesting reading these articles in DS and seeing what other people are using, and what they can produce with their lenses.
I knew there was something familiar about you! We were born in the same year. Were you the noisy one in the crib next to me in the nursery????
Of the 24 different cameras I’ve owned the only one I miss is my Rolleiflex 3.5T with the 75mm f3.5 Planar lens. With Agfa CT18 the images were so three dimensional you wanted to reach in and touch things. Astonishing lens. Alas it got stolen in a B&E many years ago for which the insurance company paid me eight times what it cost me new; that’s how expensive they’d become. Oddly enough, both prices were exactly the equivalent of a month’s salary.
On the subject scary German Polizei – what’s the difference between “The Best of Worlds” and “The Worst of Worlds”? In the Best of Worlds, the designers are Italian, the engineers are German and the cops are British. In The Worst of Worlds, the designers are British, the engineers are Italian and the cops are German (and they drive Porches).
OK! OK! I’ll go away now …
I don’t think I’d particularly care for the company of cops from France or Italy, either.
The worst I ever heard of were “somewhere else” – no point in raking over old coals now, there’s been a paradigm shift in their politics and government since. A plum story from “somewhere else” was a guy falling out of a window – falling 5 stories, to his death. The window of course was on the ground floor, and it had thick iron bars across it, preventing anything larger than a siamese cat from getting out of the window.
Pascal, great article and images. The CV 21 certainly matches well with the Sony. A friend who you may now is trying to persuade me too acquire the 21, I will what. Again excellent images and words.
Thank you so much Dallas, I am much obliged for the kind words.
As far as CV 21 is concerned, there are two different FE models.
One opening at F3,5 which is a very compact and light version, delivering good IQ but relatively slow.
Voigtländer later offered a somewhat larger and heftier f1,4 which some say even outclasses the Zeiss Loxia, until then king of the 21mm hill.
They both serve different purposes, but both quite good in their own right.
If my memory serves me right, you enjoy fast lenses. This may guide you in one direction.
As far as I am concerned, the 21 f3,5 is a very pleasant walk about lens for hours on end being so light, significantly smaller and lighter than Julia, the Zeiss Loxia 25mm for instance. It is also cheaper than its faster sibling.
One of the togs I read with interest, Philip Reeve, is very happy with his and produces very inspiring pictures with it, “slowness” notwithstanding.
I hope this helps ^^.
Thanks Pascal it does.
Pascal – Fun article. If I was ever to buy a German car, it would only be a Porche and preferably the Macan S. A few years back I spent a lot of time photographing car shows and stumbled into a project titled “The Automobile as Art”. Your images fit well into that genre. Oddly enough, the only show I’ve been to this year was a pop-up show in the unused area of a shopping center parking lot a few blocks from my home. It was a chance to try a novel approach – photographing cars in infrared. And then, there’s the Vulture Garage … but that’s a tale for another day.
Thank you for the kind words, John!
I look forward to learning about the Vulture Garage.
Ach, Pascal! After zis fine artikel, you cannot show yourself in Tchermany again. Because you shot zese fantastic Tcherman mashines wiz a Tchapanese lense, kammuflagged in a seleprated Tcherman name. Ant on a Tchapanese camera, too. Maybe you come riding a Tchapanese motorcykle as well? Achtung, grosse Skandal!! But ze piktchurs, ze immages, zey are true Tcherman qvality!!!
Phil – I think you tongue need restorative surgery!!!
Ach, Philippe, deine Komplimente bezaubern mein Herz, ich liebe die wie Apfelmus, so zärtlich wie Spinat, mein Herz schlägt wie ein Pferdefuß.
Nochmals vielen Dank.