Porsche 356 A
The Porsche 356 A first hit the market for model year 1955. Over the pre-A models the 356 A had a number a slight changes. During its production run, the rear mounted engine was available in the three displacements, 1300cc, 1500cc and 1600cc variants.
The famed 356 A Speedster is one of the most popular models and they command a higher price tag. Coupes are more common and fetch a slightly lower price. The price of admission also goes up with the more powerful engines. Another model to keep an eye out for is the fairly rare Continental. Only 1,200 of 356’s wearing the Continental badge came to the US in early to mid-1955. An additional 156 were badges this way in late 1955 and early 1956.
What To Watch For
As with all older cars rust can be a real problem. Make sure to check the under carriage, fender wells and battery tray. Depending on if you are looking for a restoration project or a perfect car will determine if you should walk away. Remember any rust will need to be removed, and you need some metal still left to work with in a project.
You also want to make sure maintenance items like valve adjustments and oil changes have been done on a regular basis. Documentation of maintenance is always a bonus, but don’t expect it if you are buying a restoration project.
When searching for a 356 A make sure you know if it is an original or a replica. Some of the replicas can be pretty close to the original, but they normally use a fiberglass body. A few taps on the body (just be careful not to ruin the paint) will tell as the sound and feel are much different between sheet metal and fiberglass.
There are a lot of replicas and they can be fun to drive for a much lower price (we’ve seen complete replicas in good condition going for as low as $11,000). Just keep this in mind when shopping for an original 356 A as you may need to wade through a number of these kit cars before you get to a factory made Porsche 356 A.
Porsche 356 A prices have gotten out of reach for most folks. In our research we have been able to find cars in good condition for as low as $60,000, but that was for a coupe that was not a numbers matching car. Expect to pay a little over $100,000 for a numbers matching coupe in good condition with prices raising to the $300,000 range for cars in excellent condition, especially convertible models.
For those looking for a restoration project, even rough cars can command $30,000 if they are numbers matching. Bargains can be found, but be careful that you don’t end up with a project that will cost you more than a well maintained example.
No matter what 356 you decide to purchase, a pre-purchase inspection is always a good idea. Doing so will either help you avoid a money pit or give you a bargaining chip for negotiating a better price.
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