Some might call it daring, others inauspicious, but I’m going to start this post by claiming that CC has probably said everything that could be said about the Porsche 356. Which is going to make this post either pretty easy to write, or borderline impossible. So what’s it gonna be?
This is one of the 16,674 Porsche 356 Cs that came out of Stuttgart between mid-1963 and early 1966 – the final iteration of the First Official Porsche Motorcar that was the 356. And although it was snugly sleeping in an open garage, it was small enough to be photographed from several angles, if one was a bit inventive.
Most of these would have been exported to the US, where Porsche already had a huge following. But out feature car, with that single number 5 on the top part of its license plate, was originally sold in Japan. Not sure that there were any actual differences between the USDM and JDM models, though.
This is the base model with the 75hp engine – a 1600cc air-cooled flat-4, of course. One could also order the Super (or SC) version for an extra 20hp. The 2-litre Carreras were almost a different breed, more of a race car than the civilized coupé we have here. Oh, and you could get all those in drop-top form as well, of course.
The main improvement between the base model 356B and this 356C, aside from the slightly more powerful engine, has to be the four wheel disc brakes. It sure took a while for Porsche to fit those on all their range… Better late than never, I guess.
Flawless interior with period radio set – the Tokyo open-air museum strikes again!
There are a lot of variations on the 356 theme and everyone has their favourite. I’m personally keener on the “pre-A” style cars, which look so delightfully antique and Beetlesque. But the 356C does have its charms. The almond-shaped rear lights topped by those adorable reflectors are definitely better than the pre-A’s generic-looking round taillamps.
The C’s front end is a bit less pretty than older models, but the 356 still went through far less drastic plastic surgery than what they ended up doing to the poor 911. And I’m not even talking about what they call a 911 now, just the air-cooled ones.
At least with the 356, even the final cars like this one still had Ferdinand Porsche’s fingerprints all over it (figuratively, one hopes). Back in the mid-‘60s, this streamlined shape must have looked pretty dated. Hence why they replaced it with the 912, I suppose. All good things must come to an end, and the 356, which had a rather rough start, certainly ended well.
Curbside Classic: 1965 Porsche 356SC, by Aaron65