Sunday, November 22, 2009

1958-1960 Porsche 356A Coupe T2

"The car not only for today but for the day after tomorrow"

This week marks the 100th birthday of Ferry Porsche, the ingenious mastermind behind automotive highlights like the Auto Union Rennwagen of the 30s, or the Volkswagen Beetle. At this occasion, today we show the first non-american car in our blog. In prosperous pre-revolutionary times, cuban roads were not only populated by Detroit Iron in abundance, but also by a lot of import cars, many of them being high-priced european sports cars.

Meet the Porsche 356A, found in a garage in Havana's gorgeous Vedado district. This excellent car is an absolute rarity, as it is believed that today just eight Porsche 356 survived on the island.

Built from 1948 through 1965, the Porsche 356 soon became a synonym for The German Sports Car. Contrary to America's manufacturers, who stimulated the customer's interest by constant styling changes, the appearance of Porsche's 356 changed only marginally throughout the years. But under the hood, constant improvements created an unbeatable package. Fired by an upgraded version of the Beetle's air-cooled engine, the car could never keep up in the horsepower race which started in the early 50s. Porsche's way to achieve sports-car dynamics was absolute minimalism and lightweight construction.

In 1955, the improved version 356 A was introduced, which received an subtle update for 1958, called T2, when the exhaust pipes were integrated into the bumper guards to improve ground clearance.

For a long time, cuban Porsche owners were largely unaware of the historic value of their cars, until cuba-born aficionado Ernesto Rodriguez gathered them and enthusiastically founded the Porsche Club Cuba in December 2003. This club soon was deemed suspicious by the cuban government, and had to disassemble due to pressure from above. In Cuba, even passion for cars has it's limits...

Enjoy this quote from Porsche's catalog: "The Porsche type 356 is one of the last vehicles designed by the late Prof. Porsche. The knowledge gained from the manufacture of racing cars, and the invaluable experience accumulated over many years have all been incorporated in this successful design. Constant improvements to detail have been made on the Porsche car, and in its present form it may be considered to have reached a state of perfection. No changes have been made in the external shape of the vehicle, since this was aerodynamically the best solution, and its undated elegant form has become a symbol of technical beauty in our age."

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