What is It About the Porsche 356?

What is it about a Porsche 356 that tugs at the heart of Porschephiles? The shape? The sound? The ride? The history?

porsche 356 speedster

On the surface, 356s are not like 911s. The 911 is the signature car of the brand.

Nor are 356s much like any other Porsche that came after them, when you think of all the features and doodads and baubles that modern Porsche models offer their drivers and passengers. Features like real heat and functional air conditioning. Fierce acceleration. Precise point-and-shoot steering. Handling up the wazoo. These things are found in the modern Porsche. In 356s, no way.

Porsche 356 speedster interior

Despite their antique stature, evidence abounds that there continues to be a solid and growing 356 enthusiast base.

  • The 356 Registry has a paid membership of almost 8,000 strong.
  • Thousands of non dues-paying enthusiasts read the daily 356 Registry forum, also known as 356 Talk, sponsored by the Registry.
  • The two “356 Holidays’ held each year regularly sell out within days.
  • The international 356 fan base is widespread and regularly contributes via 356 Talk to enrich the 356 knowledge base.
  • The Registry web page and the monthly club magazine are awesome!


Auction and private sales data indicate that the market is trending upward for all models of 356. It used to be that only Speedsters would command six figures. This is, of course, no longer true.

So, what is it about 356s that continue to draw folks to them? This is an ongoing story our newest contributor, Ronald Sieber, is going to explore and we’d like your input. Do you own a 356? Do you have a story you’d like to share? What would you like to know about them? Send us your stories, your comments or your questions via our contact form or by commenting on this story.

About the author: Ronald Sieber is a Porsche owner and enthusiast who regularly contributes to popular automotive magazines. He restores and writes about classic cars and is currently writing an automotive history book about a uniquely American concept.

Pictures are of a 1954 Porsche 356 Speedster, the 9th one ever built, courtesy of our friend Brett Sloan at SloanCars.com.

Other Porsche Blog Posts You'll Enjoy
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Beautifully Produced Video of a Man, His 356 and a Passion for Porsche
1964 Porsche 356 Turbo

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  1. says

    The first time I ever sat in a 356, I was the driver. It was a modified 1965 SC cab with wide Fuchs and sticky tires. I had the top down, and the drive was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Pure euphoria.

    Since then, I’ve been hooked. I’ll probably never be able to buy anything but a coupe, but I could probably pony up for an old Beck Speedster. I imagine it could be quite a fun daily summer ride.

    • says

      Would you consider a 356B Super-90 coupe? Light weight, fast, and weather tight. And not too expensive!

      Anyone who owns a Speedster knows the dread of rain clouds approaching, the rain coming in horizontally at eye level over the windshield seal, and that flapping top syndrome at speeds over 40 mph.

      Ask me how I know this… :(

  2. says

    I have been in love with the 356s since an early beau often allowed me to drive his (and he would not allow his male buddies to ever drive it.)

    We referred to that model as a bathtub, but the Speedster was never called by that name. Regardless of the 356 model, it has always been its own brand of very sexy car. Classic. Enduring. Unique! And one hell of a lot of fun to drive. Top down, of course!

  3. Mark Beiderman says

    I love these cars too! There is something so pure and elemental about these early Porsches that speaks to my soul. They are no-nonsense machines in the strictest sense, so mechanically sensual and free of frills. Pure driving excitement that is unrivaled. I count myself extremely lucky to have a friend who owns a pristine example of the breed.

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