BOOK REVIEW - The Book of the Porsche 356

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The Book of the Porsche 356
By Brian Long

The original version of this book was a classic but this complete revision has more than 100 new photographs and lots of interesting new material about these early Porsches that I have not seen elsewhere - a must for the collection of any 356 enthusiast.

It has a good section covering replica 356s for those of us who can only dream of owning an original car, but includes lots of helpful buying and restoration advice for the lucky few who become owners of these wonderful cars.

The historic development of Porsche's first successful sports car is illustrated with some rare photographs which I have not seen before. The success of the 356 in motorsport is covered in some detail with lots of information about the early teams and car development.

I was particularly interested in the historical details concerning the development and racing success of the Type 540 'America Roadster'. Although only 16 of these cars were made and the car was not a financial success, the book shows how this car and its success in many motorsports events influenced the later development of the 356 Speedster which used the same type number.


There is an interesting section on the birth of the 550 Spyder in 1953, describing the racing success of this car, whose speed and reliability made it extremely competitive on long fast circuits. The 550A development and continued motorsport success is well documented with new material and photos.

The success of the 356 in the USA, with over a third of 356 production going to America by 1954 is well documented. Brian Long describes the strong competition from British sports cars in the USA during this period and how John von Newman (Porsche's West Coast Distributor) and Max Hoffman (Porsche's East Coast Distributor) persuaded the Porsche factory that a lower cost, stripped down, motorsport oriented 356, was the only way to really succeed in the US sports car market.

There is enough new information in this book about the development and success of the 356 Speedster alone to recommend it to Speedster enthusiasts, but the sheer amount of information about the early history of the 356 range, production details and motorsport history should make it appeal to a much wider audience.

I particularly enjoyed the many new photographs - of people involved in production and assembly - of the drivers and successes in motorsport - and about the technical development of engines and other aspects of these iconic cars.

So this is much more than just a re-issue - it is a well assembled history that can be read from cover-to-cover as a reference work with copious information on production numbers and technical specifications - or just as a pleasurable browse for any sports car enthusiast.

John Mercer - July 2014


The Book of the Porsche 356
By Brian Long
Hardback - 250mm x 250mmm
192 pages - 300 illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-84584-035-8

Published by Veloce Publishing





Other useful links on this site

Books on 356 Speedsters

Books on 911 Speedsters

Speedster Posters

Speedster Racing in the 1960s

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