Based loosely upon the VW Beetle, which Dr. Porsche also designed, the 356 was the first Porsche model and, as such, was truly the birth of a legend. The curvaceous little coupés and spyders were a huge success throughout the world and continued to be so throughout the model's life because of a policy of continuous development. Here is the full and fascinating story of the Porsche 356 and the racing and rallying cars which sprang from it. Here, too, is the story of the very beginnings of what, today, is one of the greatest sports car marques and an icon of automotive excellence.
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About the Author
Born in Coventry, once the heart of the British motor industry, Brian Long has a passion for vintage and sporting machinery. A trained mechanical engineer and a long-term owner of both the MX-5 and rotary Mazdas, he has had a strong connection with Mazda products for well over a decade. Brian now lives just outside Tokyo, and spends much of his free time with Thoroughbred horses. He has had more than 70 books published, including many works on Japanese marques.
What People are Saying About This
"The book abounds with intimate and unusual stories about these early Porsches, its founders, and the many variations produced." – Porsche Club of America, Monterey Bay region
"It's a book to excite any 356 enthusiast." – Australian Classic Car
Classic & Sports Car, May 2008
UK magazine Circulation: 82,000
Once past the in-your-face typography and rather basic design, this is another good offering from publisher Veloce. Working chronologically, the story inevitably begins with the birth of Ferdinand Porsche and skips along until Porsche Number One is conceived, at which point the pace slows in order to allow for a slightly more in-depth look at the following 18 years of 356 production. Although Long's text is matter-of-fact in delivery, there is plenty of information to be found for those not already well-educated in the subject matter. But the real attraction here is the vast collection of visual material. From the posed publicity shots of a 356A loaded with skis - and presumably heading for the hills - to the fabulous images of Herbert Linge approaching outright victory on the 1960 Tour de Corse. If you own a 356, these pictures will make you glad you do; if you don't, they're certain to make you want one.
Review by Mark Stubbs for Heat Exchanger, May 2008
Official publication of the Shenandoah Region of the Porsche Club of America
Brian Long is a very accomplished member of the motoring press. 'Book of the Porsche 356' is a new release of the title originally published in 1996. This is not simply a reissue. It is extensively revised and substantially expanded.
I am certainly not an authority on the 356. But I have always been a fan and though never having owned this model certainly followed with interest the development and the rise in value they have experienced over the past decade. They are lovely cars and lets face it, the original design that is really still alive in the latest sports cars from Porsche. Honestly though, I’m a six-cylinder Porsche kind of guy. I guess what I’m saying is that reviewing a book on the 356 is not what I thought my first effort for this publication would be. I just couldn’t help myself.
When I first looked at this nice hardcover volume the package design really caught my eye. Having restored a few European cars and motorcycles has firmly engrained an appreciation for thorough research and a love of documented history. One of the hardest things to document on a fifty-year-old vehicle is what was correct and when it came along. Porsche as a manufacturer has constantly made running production changes to the product. This kind of thing can be as subtle as a relocated clutch cable retainer or as obvious as new hood chrome. This book documents the timeline very well. Long has collected a really impressive 242 photos (145 in color) for this volume. He apologizes for the quality of some but justifies including them for the historic value and I agree completely. There are numerous factory photos as well as lots of period sales material and racing art from the entire life of the 356. This is not just a coffee table book to be browsed through with the flat screen on. The author is quite thorough about taking us through the entire run of the 356 from it’s inception to the final 356C. He documents the race machines along the way and speaks to the affects developing sales markets had on development of both the 356 and the Porsche Company. And there are photos of the Porsche family I had never seen before.
As any 356 fan knows there are hundreds of different iterations of these cars over its production life and the author does a valiant job of covering them with photos and descriptions. He even shows the overlap with the 911. There is a whole chapter on modern reproductions of the 356 and they are listed and rated by company so those of us who cannot afford the real thing or just want the look but not the patina can be aware of the various quality levels and pitfalls.
There are appendixes that cover running changes on the engines, year by year detail changes, chassis numbers as well as the aforementioned replicas. The artwork in the book is wonderful and a pleasure to just browse through. I smile every time I pick it up. It gets my top five star rating!