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.
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