1950→1951 Porsche 356 ‘Split-Window’ Cabriolet


1950→1951 Porsche 356 ‘Split-Window’ Cabriolet

1950→1951 Porsche 356 ‘Split-Window’ Cabriolet

After producing the first German 356, a ‘Split-Window’ Coupé, Porsche produced a Cabriolet shortly there after which was built by Karrosseriewerk Reutter.

Initial prodcutione output exceeded 30 cars a month with both Coupé and Cabriolet bodies. Both were loosely based off their equivalents made in Gmünd, Austria but had bodied made in steel instead of aluminum.

The engine was the same VW 1086cc that employed a Porsche cylinder head, the same design that was used on the last few Gmünd cars. Bodies were all sourced from Reutter except some cabriolets which were sent to Glässer when demand was great than Reutter could handle. By November of 1950 80 cars were being made per month.

At the Frankfurt motor show in 1951 a suite of upgrades was announced including Lockheed discs and a 1.3-liter engine. This used larger bore, finned aluminum cylinders with chromed cylinders from Mahle. The engine had lower compression for pump fuel and could still produce 4 additional bhp.

1950_Porsche_356SplitWindowCabriolet1

Most of the 356 production was eventually sold to Max Hoffman who was the sole importer for America and had a dealership on Park Avenue in New York City. After racing three aluminum-bodied Gmünd Coupés at the 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans the 356 appeal grew.

Before the 1952 year, Porsche and Reutter improved the car with a one-piece bent windshield, Not too long afterward in mid-1952 the bumpers were repositioned at the request of Max Hoffman. By the end of the year the seminal 1500 engine was released with Hirth-sourced crankshafts and connecting rods which became known for their rolling bearing big-ends.

In Detail

submitted byRichard Owen
typeSeries Production Car
production years1950 – 1951
built atStuttgart, Germany
body stylistErwin Komenda
coachbuilderKarrosseriewerk Reutter
price $$ 2,000
engineType 369 VW Air Cooled Flat-4 w/Porsche Cylinder Head
positionRear, Longituinal
aspirationNatural
valvetrainPushrod OHV
fuel feedDual Solex 26 VFJ Downdraft
displacement1086 cc / 66.27 in³
stroke64 mm / 2.5 in
compression7.00:1
power29.8 kw / 40 bhp @ 4200 rpm
specific output36.83 bhp per litre
bhp/weight50.38 bhp per tonne
body / frameSteel Body over Steel Tub Chassus
driven wheelsRWD
wheel typeSteel Discs
front tires5.00-16
rear tires5.00-16
steeringVW Worm & Nut
f suspensionVW Parallel Trailing Arms, Tubular Dampers
r suspensionVW Leading Arms w/Torsion Bars, Hydraulic Lever-Arm Shock Absorbers
curb weight794 kg / 1750 lbs
wheelbase2101 mm / 82.7 in
front track1290 mm / 50.8 in
rear track1250 mm / 49.2 in
length3950 mm / 155.5 in
transmissionVW 4-Speed Manual
top speed~160 kph / 99.4 mph
0 – 60 mph~13.9 seconds
0 – 1/4 mile~19.2 seconds