This manual was (and still is) written during and after rebuilld and work on three Porsche 356 series cars. The 'lucky' ones bearing the chassi #'s 105905, 110020 & 201042. The first one being a late T-2 '58 1600N, the next an early T-5 '59 1600S, and some information come from restoration of a '61 T-5 1600S Karmann Hardtop.

'58 356A '59 356B '62 356B

Even though people restore 356's for amounts high enough to buy a decent home in my part of the world, Norway that is, I have taken quite another approach when it come to restoring 356's.

I have no magical formula on how to win the Manhattan trophy with a 10k car though, this is all about rebuillding and restoring correct, and for fun. It is not much more work to do it right!

Be prepared to learn, don't have any fixed time limits, and work when you feel like it.

Since I've been very concerned about cost effectivness contra quality, this manual could as well be called 'The poor mans 356 chassi repair manual'.

The Porsche 356 series of cars were really the first vehicles to carry the Porsche badge. The model was designed in the late 40's, much of the idea's inherited from the Volskwagon project. The first 50 or so cars were assembled in a shed in Gmud, Austria. These were buillt from aluminum, which was much easier to get hold of after the war. Steel was in short, even Jaguar's new XK 120 came with an aluminum body the first year of production. (1949) By late 1950 the production site was relocated to Stuttgart, bodies were built in steel now, and this together with the positive reception of the 356 made the production take off.

Working with aluminum is quite different from working with steel, since aluminum 356's are scarce, and the fact that I never worked with aluminum body panels give that this manual only applies to the steel cars. However a lot of the descriptions, and methods can be applied, it is basically the the welding technique that gets different when working with aluminum.

Production figures, model changes.

During the 356's 15+ years of production, it was almost constantly developed. But the basics were intact, and on the chassi side there really was no big changes. Well, at least almost that is. A total of just over 75000 cars were made, and reasonable estimates indicate that about 20-30 percent of these is either on the road today or under restoration.

The 356's strong monocoque.

The basic structure of the 356 is a very strong monocoque, with the outer body panels welded to it. This makes for a very stiff car, but has clear disadvantages when it come to chassis repair. No real easy way to change your front fender here.

Trond V. Olsen,
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