The Porsche 356 is a rear-engine German sports car built from 1948 to 1965 that does not perform as impressively as the Porsche 911, its direct descendant. However, the Porsche 356 is widely considered one of the most desirable and influential classic automobiles of its kind.
The Porsche 356 is akin to a stretched version of the Volkswagen Type I or Beetle design, retaining that vehicle's signature rear-mounted, air-cooled engine, general body shape and certain mechanical components, though the chassis itself has a different design. The engines used in 356 models are all boxer-style four-cylinder designs with relatively weak power outputs by modern standards. The most powerful 356 powerplant produced only 130 peak horsepower. The engine case is one of the components carried over from the Beetle, but Porsche engineers undertook extensive modification or replacement of almost every other part of the motor to increase its horsepower significantly over the original design.
The Porsche 356 has been popular among motoring enthusiasts since its inception due to its unique styling and handling. Modern examples in excellent condition often go for $100,000 or more at auction or in private sales. The most expensive models are the low-profile Speedster convertibles, which can sell for over 1 million dollars in the speed-oriented Carrera trim.