René Staud’s Ode to the Porsche 356

René Staud really loves Porsches. As well he might. The Stuttgart-born photographer hails from the heart of Porsche country, and published a brilliant homage to the 911 on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. Now he has turned the lens on his personal favorite, a classic Porsche 356. The 135 photos in My Porsche Book: The Iconic 356s from German publisher Delius Klasing pay loving tribute to various versions of Porsche’s first production car, built from 1948–1965, including a rare and ridiculously attractive Abarth model. The likes of James Dean, Steve McQueen and the young Sean Connery drove 356s, helping to cement its status as an icon, and it remains one of the most beautiful sports cars of all time.

Though the 911 has replaced the 356 in the affections of modern men just as it did on the production line, connoisseurs of true classics still hold it in rightful esteem, like Hodinkee founder Ben Clymer. Even replica 356s – generally Speedsters, which have become unobtainable for mere mortals due to skyrocketing prices – have a certain panache. Let nay-sayers deride it as a Volkswagen in fancy clothes; in the ‘50s the VW parts were mostly engineered out, and we think Staud’s images eloquently evoke the 356’s considerable charms in any case. Plus we totally share his thing for bright blue paintwork.

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All images © René Staud, courtesy Delius Klasing

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Comments on “René Staud’s Ode to the Porsche 356

    Martinon November 22, 2015 @ 10:57 AM:

    Back when I was much younger, young men called a pretty girl with no brains a “Golden Retriever”.. A 356 was not even a Golden Retriever, due to it’s looks. Often, accurately, referred to by the motor sports press as a K-Ghia at twice the price, it didn’t go, it didn’t stop, it didn’t corner. The 356 went the way of the dodo bird with the introduction of 911, and shortly after the 912.

    Reno Peteon November 22, 2015 @ 5:10 PM:

    Had that 356 back in the early 60’s. Loved it. Motor mags notwithstanding It did corner, but would break loose if you didn’t pay attention to its limits and if you backed off the acceleration too soon. It stopped okay. And it went, surprisingly striped-ass ape-ish, thanks to synchro-mesh trans and beefed-up beyond Ghia plant.

    Haroldon November 22, 2015 @ 8:42 PM:

    Luckily, opinions are allowed to vary. I think the Porsche 356 is one of the most beautiful cars of all time. I purchased my first Porsche 22 years ago and have owned 8. I currently own a 993 and a 64 356C. I love my 356 and I have owned a bug and driven Ghias. To me they do not feel the same or look the same anymore than a 67 Camaro and Mustang “look” the same.
    The 356 was made from 1948 until 1965 and sold very well the last two years due to Porsche owners wanting to purchase it over the 911 when they had the choice. As far as handling and braking, Chris Harris uploaded a recent vintage race video showing similar class cars and some cars a class ahead of it and it competes well whenever ever set up correctly. Mine has disc brakes and stops very well. I live on a fast twisty road and often I am being held up by modern cars that are not as comfortable going the speed limit on our twisty road. It’s got to be a surprise to see a 356 closing on you. It always makes me smile.

    Stephen Aon November 22, 2015 @ 10:04 PM:

    That’s right, Martin: that’s why they don’t command high prices now, or have any racing success…

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