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Porsche 356 (1948 – 1966)

Image of a 356

Porsche 356 (1948 – 1966)

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The car that dreams are made of, the 356 was Porsche’s first production automobile. The iconic Porsche itself was constantly evolving, the 356C being the most powerful push-rod engine developing 95 horse power.

Body styles were developed constantly, including roadsters, cabriolets and a rare split roof version with evolutionary functional improvements. Although Porsches got faster and louder as time went on, you get the same sense of quality in this classic Porsche as you would in a modern one.

The Porsche 356 has spawned a whole world of mimicry, with many replica cars produced over the years. Some kit cars spare no expense when it comes to detail, demonstrating that imitation is indeed the highest form of flattery.

So why buy a 356? A car steeped in as much history as the 356 will always be worth every penny to a classic enthusiast. Even if the Porsche 911 is the “iconic Porsche”, the 911 wouldn’t be the car it is today if it wasn’t for the 356. This is where it all started.


Years Produced1948 - 1966
Performance0 - 60 mph 14.1 sec / Top Speed - 102mph
Power & Torque 95 bhp / 88 Ib ft
Engine1582cc flat four 8 valves
Drive-train Rear engine/ RWD
TransmissionFour speed manual



A Buyers Guide

Let’s take a look at the Porsche 356 to see if it’s a good buy or not. The 356 will need particular attention paid to the body work, especially the boot floor and the inner and outer wings as well as the bulk head. Corrosion can get anywhere and everywhere including rear wings and rear valance, so check it all! Look at the panel gaps for uneven fitment, and carefully inspect the car’s contours for signs of bad restoration work and to make sure rear panels aren’t bent. It can be very difficult to repair the body work correctly and the cost can be high, so it pays to check. The interior of the 356 is simple and robust. The 6-volt set up is reliable as long as the connections are kept clean, but most tend to convert to 12-volt.

This iconic car can be expensive to maintain but very well built mechanically. Check for good oil pressure, oil leaks and excessive smoke. Oil leaks are fairly common from the cooler and the rocker covers; you’ll know if you spot it, but it isn’t considered a major problem. Any knocking could suggest a problem in the big end area, while a rumbling could indicate a problem with worn main bearings, camshaft, cam or the valve gear. Check for any knocks in the suspension area as this could be worn shocks or suspension bushes. Make sure gear change is smooth as if not this could be due to synchromesh damage or wear.

Insuring a Porsche 356

At Heritage we offer a tailor-made package for one or more cars. We include both our in-house agreed value service and salvage retention at no extra cost, and with limited mileage and club members discounts, our annual fully Comprehensive policy proves excellent value for money. Here are some typical examples of how little your insurance could cost.

  • This quotation has been based on fully comprehensive cover, insured only to drive age 60.

Annual premium – £183.45 with a £200 accidental damage excess.

  • This quotation has been based on fully comprehensive cover, insured only to drive age 45.

Annual premium – £188.55 with a £200 accidental damage excess.

  • This quotation has been based on fully comprehensive cover, insured only to drive age 30.

Annual premium – £304.78 with a £200 accidental damage excess.

*NB: All insurance quotes are based on the same criteria: The vehicle being garaged overnight. Accident, claim and conviction free and a limited mileage of 3000 per annum with full use of a main car daily. All quotations are based on an Agreed Value of £80,000. Prices may alter depending on individual criteria. Quote carried out October 2018.

Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director at Heritage Classic Car Insurance, says,

“When talking about Porsches you can’t go much further back than the 356, and it really showcases how the German supercar builders went about things. Beauty, quality and outstanding refinement all wrapped in a German shell.”

insuring a Porsche 356 (1948 – 1966)