Car of the Week: Porsche 356 Willhoit Race Car

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Referred to by some auto enthusiasts as the ‘blueprint for sports-car success’, the Porsche 356 is one of the most remarkable cars to ever grace our roads. In fact, the styling on the original model was so good that, over the course of the subsequent years, very little changed on the exterior, with the rear-engine coupe and cabriolet versions only undergoing continuous technological improvements. By the time that the Porsche 356 C was built in 1964, the car was near perfect. As a result, our car of the week this week is a real gem and a true piece of automotive history. Read on to find out more about the history and the development of the 356.

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Part of the 356’s lure was that its simple, rounded design was able to stand the test of time, appearing as a timeless classic at any given place or time. Of course, as it was built by Porsche, the build quality was always exceptional, too. Based on a Volkswagen design, the Porsche contained an air cooled engine and also had a racy, cut-down windscreen.

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By 1959, Porsche had changed this design, incorporating a one piece windshield. This, however, was not the only change and internally, Porsche’s engineers made some quite large scale changes, including increasing the horsepower, improving the suspension, and adding a new four speed gear box. The result? Far greater tractability and vastly improved handling.

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Over time, more changes were made, especially with the launch of the 356 B in 1960, where the majority of the vehicle was built by hand, with supply sometimes struggling to meet demand. At this stage, three different engine options were available, including a 90 bhp Super 90 which blew away many users.

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Finally, the 356 C (our featured model) was built from 1964 to 1965, where under the skin improvements continued.. Once more, the engine was upgraded, and a 95 bhp model became available, with the engine itself earning an SC badge. In 1964, this was the most powerful pushrod engine Porsche had ever produced.

Designed for both racing and street driving, the 356 has always been in high demand and yet, over the course of its lifetime, only 76,000 were ever produced. Nowadays, it is estimated that around half still survive.

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This model particularly is an incredibly fine example of the 356 race car. Originally from America, the vehicle was owned by the renowned John Willhoit Porsche of Hollywood for 15 years before it was imported over to the UK.

The car comes complete with an extensive build file from 2003 onwards, and also has receipts for thousands of pounds of ongoing maintenance and improvement costs. As well as this, the car also comes with a Dyno readout commissioned by John Willhoit which shows an engine output of 178.95 bhp.

Interested? Click here for the full listing and the chance to buy a slice of history.

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