The instant my eyes fell on this picture at the Cohort by robadr titled “Porsche 1600 Super” I knew it was a fake. Which is perfectly all right, as Porsche 356s are very easy to fake well given their shared parentage with the VW. And they can make quite satisfying fakes, since their dynamic qualities can largely (although typically not properly or fully) be faked quite well too. I’d take this in a heartbeat, especially since it’s a replica of a 356A Cabriolet D, exactly my preferred body style for an open 356. It was the successor to the Speedster in 1959, with a slightly taller windshield, better top and nice big leather seats, as the main and most obvious changes. Of course I’d make it look authentic, but that’s just me.
Now let’s start listing all the clues to this being a fake.
The one that grabbed me instantly are the white wall tires. No owner of a genuine 356 would have those. Period. The wheels are obvious fakes too; they look like four bolt VW wheels, although they might well be aftermarket wheels. Authentic aftermarket slotted Porsche 356 wheels are readily available, but my guess is that this is sitting on a ’68 or later VW pan, hence the four bolt wheels, and the inability to fit reproduction Porsche 5 bolt wheels.
Then there’s the hubcaps too; this Porsche “nipple” style hubcap first appeared with the 1960 356B; this car is of course a replica of a 1958-1959 356A. Admittedly, even some genuine 356A owners have put on the nipple style hub caps, as they have become iconic. I much prefer the original baby moons.
Once again, no owner of a genuine (read: very expensive) 356 would put those wire mesh covers over the headlights, nor the extra road lights. It might have been done by someone back in the day, but 356 owners these days are extreme purists.
Most blatantly, there’s the gold “Roadster” script on the front fender; that’s the ultimate external tip-off. That’s where the Speedsters had their script, but no Porsche was ever called a Roadster. And the Cabriolet D as well as other 356s (except the Carrera) had any script there.
If none of that was obvious enough, then a quick glimpse into the interior will tell the tale. Nice try, but it’s pretty far off, starting with the whole basic configuration. The Porsche dash has just one flat plane, not two like this one. And that fat steering wheel column is all sorts of wrong.
Here’s the real thing. The radio, which was rare in these for obvious reasons, would have hung below the dash.
The exhaust is all wrong, as the original had twin pipes, similar to the VW but a bit bigger. But otherwise it’s not too bad from the rear. That luggage rack is part of the same unfortunate tendency of a certain type of VW owner to slap on every type of accessory, most inevitably the roof rack. This is the Porsche version, which again owners today of the real thing would not have, even though there was a time when they were used for genuine luggage hauling.
It wouldn’t be hard to turn this into a much more convincing fake, but then I guess that’s not what owners of fake cars seem to want. It seems they actually want the world to know that it’s a fake, and I can respect the honesty in that. Or am I giving them too much credit?
This one’s the real thing…or my version of a fake.