Bent Windshield Beauty: 1955 Porsche 356 Pre-A

When it comes to significant Porsches, most of the chatter tends to be around the Speedster, or the turbocharged 911 and 930 cars. And while competition models like the 550 Spyder may suck up any remaining air in the room, one cannot forget the 1955 Porsche 356 “Pre- A” with its iconic bent windshield design. Also known by the fender badge that spells out “Continental”, this model is the predecessor to the 356A that bowed in 1955, which also saw the transition to a conventional curved windshield. To call it rare is an understatement, especially in unrestored condition like this. Find the 356 here on eBay with bids to over $85,000 and the reserve unmet.

The beehive taillights are another tell-tale sign that we’re looking at a very special 356, which is also one of the first models that Max Hoffman himself personally had a hand in bringing over to the states, along with the Speedster and the America Roadster. This is actually the genesis of the “Continental” branding on the fender, as Hoffman was concerned that American shoppers wouldn’t be interested in a car with just numbers for a name, such as the 356. The Continental name was later removed, but it’s another clue as to which 356s are among the earliest models.

There’s numerous small details that set these early models apart, including the Telefunken AM-band radio and the hand-operated pneumatic fuel gauge. There’s also a very swanky piece of engine bay insulation that sits between the engine compartment and rear seat, the color of which matches these handsome caramel leather seats. In other words, if you’re a 356 expert who is shopping for an early bent windshield car, there’s numerous ways to tell whether a seller has gone through the motions of ensuring a rare model like this is factory-correct.

The engine bay is as nicely detailed as the rest of the vehicle, and the seller notes that the running gear is numbers matching. Curiously, the first few lines of the listing mention that the car is “…for restoration,” which confuses me given the generally high grade of condition it appears to be in. It does mention that this car benefits from an older restoration in which many mechanical components were rebuilt, with a few wear-and-tear items replaced. Numerous records, books, manuals, and even the luggage and accessories catalog all accompany the car. These early Porsches were already considered fairly unrepeatable, and this Pre-A survivor is likely among the best examples left.

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  1. Mike

    BaT has a ’55 up for auction also. Should be interesting to see how both do.

    Like 1
  2. Frank Sumatra

    That car just about screams “California” at you. Wow.

    Like 1
  3. Ike Onick

    If I had won the Lottery last night, I would have purchased this car today. Then I would have arranged for storage at a qualified Porsche shop. Next step would be to find an apartment to rent in the Bay Area or LA. Then select six long weekends to fly out to Cali. Last, purchase the round-trip tickets for two. Alas, I did not purchase a Lottery ticket yesterday.

    Like 6
  4. Steve R

    Beautiful car, there is good reason bidding is so strong.

    Steve R

    Like 3
  5. Gunner

    Porsche at its finest. An immaculate and beautiful example. Was not aware of these early 356 examples. Would rather have this over a speedster.

    Like 3
    • Richardd Adams

      As my earlier years were only exposed to well worn Porsches, the few I could afford to test drive were not in good shape.
      So my 356 and early 911 experiences were not pleasant.
      Later years I spent a lot of time with the newer water cooled variety.
      I therefore often wondered what the earlier 356 was really like to drive in the 60s.
      Were they really a lot superior to the beetle?
      Please your honest opinion will be appreciated.
      See, that is me seeing myself out….before the earth crumbles around me for daring to ask.

  6. JoeNYWF64

    Surprised there is a back seat – & no vent windows or armrests.
    It is wearing the latest trend in tires – the bean counters say let’s skinny up the same size tire even more & reduce the number of tread grooves from 4 to 3 – and raise the price.
    1st production car with painted bumpers?
    Do even these have heater issues like the Bug?
    Not sure if wipers should park evenly.

    Like 2
    • Bill McCoskey


      Many pre-ww2 European cars had painted bumpers, and this continued well into the post-war era. Consider the VW; the Standard version didn’t get chrome bumpers [hell, it didn’t have ANY brightwork on the outside of it’s body] until the advent of the oval window body. Only the Export version of the VW had chrome bumpers.

      Like 2
  7. William

    Cute little car, might be fun to buzz around in, but no way I would pay anywhere near what some fool is going to pay for it.

    Like 1
  8. Terry

    Up to 110k as of now, reserve still not met

  9. bobhess bobhess Member

    Helped a friend restore a ’52 years ago. Working on something like this really takes you back to the origins and history of the automobile. Oldest Porsche we ever owned was a ’57 Cabriolet, one of the last few 356s with the four round taillights. Driving it home after paying $500 for it I really felt that I’d gone back in time.

    Like 2
  10. Ben T. Spanner

    I had a 1954 in 1967 until I was drafted in 1968. That was that. Am I bitter? Yes..

    Like 7
    • AZVanMan

      Rightfully so in my book, and thank you for your service.

      Like 1
  11. Malcolm Boyes

    I am lucky enough to have a 56 A former rally car and now a mild Outlaw..with the beehive lights. These cars are gems..solid but simple and so much fun to taking mine out on the backroads of Sonoma..and will do that after I finish here. Six figures is now the norm for a good early 356 BTW..and pre A’s are the most valuable coupe..then A’s, the SC’s at the end of the run and B ‘s being last on the list.The reason “Continental” was dropped by Porsche was that Lincoln/Ford threatened to sue because they already had the “Continental”. Porsche answered by rebadging just a few cars with “European” that’s rare and my buddy had one…found the badges under the seat! Good luck with the sale..hope this car is as solid as it looks..

    Like 2
  12. Robert Thomas

    Fun to watch Chris Harris push a 356 in a Goodwood Revival race here:

    Like 1
    • Solosolo Member

      I have been to Goodood several times over the last 6 years and it’s a bit like Hershey, which I visited in 1989, if you are a petrol head then you just HAVE to visit Goodwood Revival at least once in your life. The quality of the racing is unbelievable door handle to door handle racing. The fact that some of the cars are worth millions of dollars doesn’t mean a thing to these guys. Two years ago a Ferrari lost it onto the grass and rear ended itself into the tyre barrier suffering a great deal of damage. The driver got out, looked at the rear end, and said to the watching crowd, “Oh well, I have a year to fix it!” Ken Tilly UK

      Like 3
      • Pat Gill

        Just bought my tickets for this year, I have been 11 times, the last three exhibiting on or two of my WW1 or WW2 motorcycles next to the drivers club, near the aircraft display, fantastic event, pat

  13. Julie Wilson

    I was lucky enough to have a Continental in sea foam green with a white leather interior around 2972-3. Sold it to a restaurant owner in the Bay Area for $1300 and it was a gem! A few years before, I had a 120 Jaguar I sold for $1000…… sure wish I could have hung on to my toys! Rather pleased I was a head of my time!!

  14. David E Falter

    I had a a ’54 America Coupe painted British Racing Green. I remember a corduroy brown interior with maroon dash. I had to finish college and needed to sell it to continue, darn it!!

  15. Solosolo Member

    Hi there Pat. If it’s open to the public again this year then we must meet up for a chat. K.T.

    • Pat Gill

      let’s see how it pans out, may be exhibiting there again, I am supposed to be spannering at the Le Mans classic, held over from last year, no certainty it will go ahead this year, the race car 1966 MGB, has been up on blocks for 18 months now!

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