My Car Quest

September 21, 2021

Book Review: The Ultimate Book of the Porsche 356

Review by Wallace Wyss –

Title: The Ultimate Book of the Porsche 356
Sub-title: Catalogue Raisonné
Author: Brian Long
Publisher: Veloce Publishing
Published: November 2019
ISBN: 978-1-787112-13-1
Print run: Limited to 356 hand numbered books
Page count: 256 pages
Image count: 545 B&W and color images
Format: 250 mm x 250 mm, leather bound hardback with dust jacket & slipcase
Price: £365.00 (approximately $493 USD) Free UK & EU Delivery, RoW Courier £25
Available: Veloce Publishing

The Ultimate Book of the Porsche 356

This book is old in a way, having first been published in 1996. But it has evolved many times, commensurate with the rise in prices of old Porsche 356 cars. The readers always wanted more, more more. So this one has much more color, much more historical pictures and leaves out the buying tips (those are more fodder for Popular Mechanics) and the replicas (after all if you bought a book on the life of Marilyn Monroe do you want pages wasted on look-alikes of her?)

The text flows smoothly without being hampered by compression ratios and the like, those being in accompanying charts. The book has a lot of marketing and promotional brochures, which are a good guide to originality.

The Ultimate Book of the Porsche 356

This author is apparently and engineer, with more than 80 titles published to date, so he has the in-depth knowledge on technical issues and is able to explain those for the average reader. Some will delight in the period technical drawings.

The subject spans the 356 from the Gmünd cars to the very last production models, making this exclusive edition an important reference for all 356 enthusiasts. The book has been well researched, and charts the definitive saga of the Porsche 356 from 1948 to 1966, including all the racing and rallying cars that sprang from the production car.

Included are charts and tables giving color and trim options, range details, engine specifications, chassis numbers, and production figures for the 356. I found only a couple contradictions to my earlier recollection of the facts. I thought French racer Claude Storez was killed in his Zagato-bodied Speedster but it says the car was crashed after reaching France and scrapped according to all available sources, and then Storez was killed in another accident.

The Ultimate Book of the Porsche 356

Then when it discusses the Abarth Zagato GT/L coupes it does indeed mention that Franco Scaglione designed the car for Zagato who didn’t want to build it because they had contracts from Porsche rivals but this author doesn’t mention that the GTL models were farmed out to a little known firm called Rocco Motto (who themselves might have farmed it out), which I thought was pretty well known by now. I no doubt could quibble with a couple more historical details but the key virtue of this book is the pictures first, the specs and options for each model, and the production numbers. It is The Bible of Porsche 356 books.

The case to carry it in means you can take it to a Porsche show and protect it. A real fun part of the book is the story of how outside builders like Glockler built their own Porsche powered race cars and that spurred Porsche to build one themselves. Funny, lots of outside builders have built modified American cars but I can’t recall any of the Big Three reaching out and wanting to put one into production. Ford backing Shelby’s Cobra is about the nearest example.

It’s also a good book to read about how adroit PR played in the model’s growth. Porsche had some aristocrats racing their cars early on, and movie stars buying them, so that added to their cult status from the get-go (except of course when James Dean being killed in one…)

The Ultimate Book of the Porsche 356

The Ultimate Book of the Porsche 356 is available only as a leather-bound, collector’s edition presented in a sturdy slip-case, and is limited to just 356 individually numbered copies. They subtitle it as a Catalogue Raisonné for the world’s most discerning Porsche 356 enthusiasts.

I think they are limiting it too much but hey with the value of 356s rising, this would be a nice book to put on the dash if you’re selling yours.

The price seems high, I have the British price but it is a limited edition. I would say if you own and treasure a Porsche 356, this is a Must Have.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is the author of a Porsche 356 book but is unsure of its availability. He does have art though. If you want to write about his 356 prints he can be reached at malibucarart@gmail.com

 

The Ultimate Book of the Porsche 356

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Book Review: The Ultimate Book of the Porsche 356
Article Name
Book Review: The Ultimate Book of the Porsche 356
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If you own and treasure a Porsche 356, this book is a Must Have.
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Comments

  1. Wayne Watkins says

    That book is $643 Australian , which is A$57 less than I paid for my registered running 1960 356B Porsche in 1973 . When cleaning it out I found the original log books under the driver’s seat and it stated that the original owner was an Olympic Australian swimming coach who ended up living and coaching swimming in Canada . I owned that car for about 6 months and drove it to the ski fields twice . I normally drove V8’s to ski and the Porsche was the most uninspiring car at that time and ever that I took on a trip . It had about 3mph faster in top speed than a VW Beetle and was pure danger to attempt to overtake any cars safely . I spent $300 for a brilliant paint job in readiness for a sale and thought I had won the lottery when it sold for $2990 . With the prices A’s B’s & C’s are making these days I feel that maybe I should have gone to a Shrink in those days , but the buyers these days should definitely require the help of a Shrink with the huge dollars they are forking out for these snail like cars .

  2. Wallace Wyss says

    I don’t want to denigrate Porsches but when I owned a ’59 Convertible D I noted it was inferior in workmanship and performance to my ’71 Karmann Ghia convertible . and the shift lever — it just wandered around looking for a gear. Doubtless there was some aftermarket kit to tighten it up. I too was glad when i sold it and got got $3000. But the owners I met at 356 meets seem happy , they were so devoted it was almost a religious cult. By the way one 356 meet I went to few years ago, the average age must have been 65. But recently in Malibu I saw youngsters (’30s) driving 356s so I think there’s a changeover demographically taking place.

  3. Wayne Watkins says

    WW , maybe they are all young wealthy Scientologists with more money than brains !

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