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1965 Porsche 356C 1600SC : Classic Cars

The 911 model, in its various forms, is certainly Porsche’s longest-running model, but it was the 356 which put the marque on the map. Between 1948 and 1965, more than 76,000 were built: coupes, speedsters and cabriolets. While the basic architecture and shape of the 356 changed very little over its lifetime, there were in effect, several generations of cars. The first, characterized by split (or bent) windshields, extended through 1954. From 1955 to 1959, a revised model designated 356A was built, with curved windshield and modified suspension. It was succeeded during 1959 by the 356B, the so-called Type 5 body, with a new nose contour that raised the headlights upwards.

There were three 1,600 cc engines, designated 1600, 1600 Super and Super 90, and four-cam 2-liter Carrera 2. The 1600s differed in compression ratio and carburetion and ranged from 60 to 90 DIN (European) horsepower. The Super 90, most potent of the pushrod engines, had a counterweighted crankshaft, sodium-filled valves and Solex P40-II carburetors.

The 356 made its final transformation with the Type 6 body in 1963. Designated 356C, it had a new ZF steering gear and added compensating spring at the rear, the latter calming the swing axle suspension. Four-wheel disc brakes were also part of the revision, and a 12-volt electrical system became available. Two 1,600 cc engines were offered, the “C” version with 75 DIN (European horsepower, rated 88 by SAE), and the “SC” with higher compression and counterweighted crankshaft making 95 hp DIN (107 SAE), in addition to the powerful four-cam 2-liter Carrera 2. The SC engine was, in effect, the successor to the Super 90.

Porsche popularity soared, and more than 10,000 cars for 1964 bested the company’s total over its first decade. However, the new 911 model was introduced in July, presaging the phase-out of the 356. Regular production finally ended in September 1965, by which time all 356s were being shipped to the United States. More than 78,000 had been built, of which half are estimated to survive. The Porsche 356 enjoyed much success in racing and rallying, including competition in the 24 hours of Le Mans, the Mille Miglia, the Targa Florio, and the Carrera Panamericana,

Most Porsche bodies had been built by Reutter, with whom the company had had a long relationship. In the 1960s, however, Karmann, better known as a supplier to Volkswagen, built a number of coupe styles. Wilhelm Karmann acquired the coachbuilding enterprise of Klages in Osnabrück, Germany, in 1901. Already a volume producer, he could supply orders of 100 bodies a month, and became the major source for Adler in Frankfurt. Never a builder of one-off creations, Karmann began supplying convertible bodies to Volkswagen in 1949, and continued for the life of the Beetle model. From 1955 to 1974, Karmann also built two-seat Karmann-Ghia coupes and cabriolets for Volkswagen in great numbers. Among work for a myriad of European manufacturers, including BMW, Opel and Renault, was the construction of coupe bodies for Porsche from 1961 to 1965.

This 1600SC coupe is fresh from a complete restoration in Southern California. The desirable Karmann coupe body with electric sunroof, it has been repainted in its original Slate Grey. The “Cardex” option list, which accompanies the car, confirms that it was built with the lockable antenna, bumper horns, interior thermometer, balance spring and chrome exhaust pipe. It is fitted with a correct VDM Carrera wood steering wheel and deluxe horn ring. The car was originally delivered with black leatherette interior; this has been replaced at restoration with period-correct full red leather. With only break-in mileage since restoration, it is virtually a new car, and certainly a superb example from the sunset of the very popular 356 model.

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Sources : 1965 Porsche Photo | 1965 Porsche Article


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