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356 A Carrera 1600 GS Cabriolet
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Country of origin:Germany
Produced from:1958 - 1959
Internal name:356
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 05, 2018
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAmong the first racing successes for Porsche came in the gruelling Carrera Panamericana road race in Mexico. The purpose-built competition cars featured a distinct four-cam version of the familiar flat four engine, which was designed by engineer Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann. This 'Fuhrmann engine' first became available in a road car with the introduction of the aptly named 356 Carrera at the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show. This coincided with the launch of the updated 356 A model, which is also referred to as the Type 1 or T1.

Derived directly from the engine used in the successful Porsche 550, the flat four fitted in the 356 Carrera displaced just under 1.5 litres. It featured the same distinct valve-train designed by Dr. Fuhrmann, which boasted two pairs of overhead camshafts driven from the crank through vertical shafts. A competition engine at heart the Porsche Type 547 also sported roller bearings and dry-sump lubrication. Equipped with a pair of twin-choke Solex carburettors, it produced around 100 hp, which was only 10 hp down on the competition version.

The Carrera engine was available in all three familiar Porsche 356 A body-styles; the Coupe, Cabriolet and Speedster. The most recognisable distinction from the first generation, Pre-A 356, was the one-piece, curved instead of bent front windshield. In addition to the more luxurious 'GS' model, Porsche also offered a GS/GT version of the 356 A Carrera, which featured a hotter engine and was aimed at customers who would also like to their 356 racing. From 1958, the Carrera was fitted with a slightly enlarged engine, which featured plain bearings.

In 1959, Porsche introduced the further revised 356 B. A Carrera version of this model was again available, including the range topping 2-litre Carrera 2 GS. Porsche, however, scratched the Speedster model from the 356 B line-up. With around 150 examples built, the 356 A Carrera Speedster is among the rarest and most sought after of all 356s.

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  Article Image gallery (15) 151584 Specifications