Porsche 356 Spotters Guide

The First stuttgart built porsche 356's are the Pre A's Built from the beginning of 1950 through to September 1955. The first feature of these models which makes it easily identified is the windscreen. The Pre A was produced until April 1952 with a two piece windscreen, with a rubber dividing seal down the centre. After that date through to the 356 A comes the bent windscreen models with one piece glass, both these early models are aranged with a v shaped front screen. Another givaway that a 356 is a Pre A is the way in which the sill panels curve under the car, whilst at the rear of the car there are small rectangular rear lights.

The 356A was introduced in september 1955 and was identified by its one piece curved windscreen and doors without quaterlights. The now flat sill panels feature a rubbing strip for protection. Round beehive rear lights were fitted to the A and the bumpers were relocated. 15" wheels and a shine down rear number plate light. Slight changes were made in September of 1957, Teardrop rear lenses were fitted, a shine up rear number plate light and the exhaust pipes exited through the rear overiders this model was known as the 356A t2. The T2 had three door striker plate screws, where the earlier A had five.

The 356B (T5 as the body shape is known) is identified by the inclusion of quarter lights in the doors and a change in body shape, the front end now makes a smooth curve from side to side, instead of a "wave" as on pre-A and A models.The headlights have been raised and the front fenders make a nearly straight line from the windshield posts to the headlights. The bumpers are higher and have put on weight and incorperate the number plate lights. Under the bumper, a new large opening has been added on each side, with grilles or optional foglights. The bonnet hood handle now splays out at the nose, but the bonnet still comes down to a curved tip. There was a body change in 1961 which is known as the T6, It features a squared off wider bonnet, two cooling intake grills on the engine lid and the rear windscreen was also inlarged.

A rare 356B coupe which deserves a special mention because of its rareity is the Karmann Hardtop or Notchback, It was essentially a Cabriolet body with a fixed hardtop welded in place. It looked like a Cabriolet with a hardtop but was in fact equivalent to a Coupe since the top could not be removed. This model was built for 1961 and 1962 and less than 2,300 were made.

The 356C was introduced in July 1963 and it marked the final development of the 356. Its body shape was the same as that of the 356 T6 which it followed. The biggest pointer to this model are the hub caps, smaller and flatter than the A or B models. They are specially designed for the new wheels that were made to cover the four wheel disc brakes and bolt pattern of the 911.

There were various 356 soft tops built during its production run from Pre A to C. Cabriolet, Speedster, Convertible or a Roadster these were often available in the same production year.

Info on the 356 soft tops will follow shortly.


PORSCHE 356 1950-1965

Type 356 (pre-A) 1950:

Split windshield. "Body" bumpers. "Crash box" transmission. 16-inch wheels. No hole hood handle. Inboard front turn signals. One round and one rectangular taillight (each side). Shine down license plate light. Single engine lid grille. Wood trim on top of doors.

Type 356 (pre-A) 1952 :

Bent windshield. Interim bumpers. Hood handle with hole. No more wood trim on top of door.

Type 356 (pre-A) 1953 :

Syncromesh gearbox. A-style bumpers. Turn signals moved directly below headlights. 2 round beehive taillights on each side.

Type 356 (pre-A) 1954 :

Horn grille with front turn signals.

Type 356 (pre-A) 1955 :

Bigger hood handle with crest (A type)

Type 356 A 1956 :

Curved windshield. Flat rocker panel. 15-inch wheels.Redesigned dash.

Type 356 A 1957 :

Overrider tubes added on bumpers of U.S. models. Rounded door handle.

Type 356 A Mid 1957 :

Beehive taillights replaced by single teardrop unit on each side. Shine up license plate light. Split rear overrider tubes on U.S. models.

Type 356 A 1958 :

T-2 body. Exhaust through bumper guards. Front turn signals mounted on wedge base. Ashtray under dash.

Type 356 A 1959 :

Higher overrider tubes.

Type 356 B 1960 :

T-5 body: in the front, bigger and higher bumpers with big bumper guards. Higher headlights and nearly straight fenders. Flattened hood with larger chrome handle. Revised horn grille and turn signal, with additional grilles under bumper. Last year of front mounted Porsche script. Vent windows on Coupes. In the rear, bigger and higher bumpers also, no license plate/back-up light assembly, but 2 license plate lights on bumper and back-up light integrated in body under the bumper.

Type 356 B 1962 :

T-6 body: slightly different roof line due to larger windshield and rear window (Coupes only). Larger engine lid (Coupes only). Twin-grille. Air intake at base of windshield (except Roadster). Squared-off front hood. Gas filler trap on right front fender.

Type 356 C 1964 :

Disc brakes. Flat hubcaps

Type 356 C 1965 :

End of production.