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Porsche 356: 75th Anniversary relates the full story of Porsche’s original sports car from the first Gmund coupe to today’s beloved collector car.
Ferdinand Porsche was a brilliant engineer who, prior to World War II, had been involved in a variety of significant automotive engineering developments including the first hybrid drive vehicles. From the early 1900s, Porsche was developing racing cars including the Mercedes SSK and the mighty Auto Union Grand Prix. During this period, Porsche also developed the groundbreaking Volkswagen, which would prove critical to his postwar, namesake automobile manufacturer.
The Typ 356 was developed by Ferdinand’s son “Ferry” Porsche and introduced in 1948. Though the rear-engine layout was based on the Volkswagen, most similarities ended there. The 356 had a unique chassis, higher performing engine, and a handsome wind-cheating body. Little known outside Germany initially, by the early 1950s the 356s were lauded for their excellent handling, build quality, and growing volume of competition successes.
Porsche’s 356 evolved over its 17-year life through four distinct series: pre-A, A, B, and C, with coupes, cabriolets, Speedsters, Hardtops, and Roadsters among the many body variations. Equipped with the “Carrera” 4-cam engine, the 356 was a force in sports car racing. Dedicated competition models were developed beginning in 1953, and the Rennsport Spyders dominated road racing, endurance, and hill climb events for over a decade.
The 356 story includes a cast of fascinating characters, from those engineers who designed the cars, to race drivers who built the “giant-killer” mystique, to owners like James Dean and Janis Joplin who fell in love with the little bathtub-shaped sports cars. From titled European gentlemen in the 1950s to movie stars like Paul Newman and Steve McQueen in the 1960s, the first Porsches attracted enthusiasts and racers alike. Today, the car has an even wider following among collectors including Porsche fans like Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno. “356 Fascination” continues with ongoing restoration efforts, vintage racing, and an “Outlaw” movement, all enhanced by large-scale events that celebrate the car’s history.
Porsche 356 75th Anniversary tells the in-depth story and is a must-have book for anyone that loves Porsche and sports car history.
About the Author
Gordon Maltby has owned 31 Porsches over 50 years, doing most maintenance and restoration himself. He wrote the highly regarded Motorbooks title Porsche 356 and RS Spyders and has co-authored and edited several Porsche technical, historical, and buying guide books in the years since. He was editor of the Porsche 356 Registry bi-monthly magazine for 28 years, evolving it into a 76-page full-color publication. He lives in Minnesota with his wife and a cobalt blue Boxster.
Grant Larson was born in Billings, Montana and grew up in Wisconsin. A passion for cars led to studies at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, then at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. After three years at Audi in Munich, he joined Porsche as an exterior designer in 1989. He was lead designer for the Boxster prototype, as well as the Carrera GT show car, the Panamera, various 911s and special editions, race cars and most recently, the 935. He is currently Director of Special Projects at the Porsche Weissach studios. Grant has three daughters—and three 986 Boxsters—and lives with his wife in Illingen, Germany. With a passionate interest in Porsche history, he also owns a 1956 Speedster, a 1957 T-1 coupe (lightweight project) and a 1965 356 SC.
"...essential acquisition for all genuine Porschephiles..."—PANDO Magazine
"Gordon Maltby spent 26 years editing the Porsche 356 Registry, peering into all corners of the Porsche garage: the cars, the family, the designers, the production process, the side projects, the racing, the history, the sales, the trends, and the drivers. His new book, Porsche 356: 75th Anniversary, reflects that deep and wide experience in a way that no book by a first-time author ever could."—Porsche 356 Registry
"...tells the in-depth story and is a must-have book for anyone that loves Porsche and sports car history."—StuttCars.com
Let’s get this out of the way first: Porsche 356: 75th Anniversary Is the best book about cars I have ever read. Period. Part of the reason may be that the book focuses on a single model and follows its evolution from creation to perfection but the truth is that every aspect of this book has been produced with the highest quality.—JoeFarace.com
"The entire history of the 356 is well-told and well-illustrated covering every facet from design to engineering as well as Porsche company history."—AVANTI Magazine
Unlike most recent Porsche titles, 356 doesn't merely tell of engineering specifics, it shows them, too, reproducing factory schematics, drawings, and cu-aways."—Helen V Hutchings, AACA.org
“Gordon Maltby has owned 31 Porsches over 50 years, doing most maintenance and restoration himself.” See? Total gearhead. He’s one of us, and he can write a stellar book too! —Automoblog