'The people at the Porsche factory all had a different outlook on car manufacturing compared to most factories. To them motoring was something to enjoy and the Porsche was a car to motor in... A whole new scene was growing, of smooth, quiet well-sprung, comfortable sports cars that really went and really handled.' Denis Jenkinson, Porsche 356. One of the all-time great sports cars, the 356 was the work of Ferry Porsche, who had been inspired by the FIAT-based Cisitalias of Piero Dusio. Ferry's 356 was based on the Volkswagen designed by his father and, like the immortal 'Beetle', employed a platform-type chassis with rear-mounted air-cooled engine and all-independent torsion bar suspension. Having commenced manufacture in November 1948 with a short run of aluminium-bodied cars built at Gmünd in Austria, Porsche began volume production of the steel-bodied 356 sports car back at its old Zuffenhausen base in 1950. The switch to steel had been necessitated by the fact that Reutter Karosserie, which had been contracted to make the bodies, had no prior experience of welding aluminium. Porsche and Reutter had collaborated in pre-war days and were close neighbours, which was fortunate as Porsche had to rent part of the coachbuilder's works while its own factory was got ready. The very first prototype, the mid-engined 356/1, had been an open design and Cabriolets were manufactured right from the start of 356 production, 23 of the 46 Gmünd-built alloy cars having been completed with some form of open-top coachwork. The majority of these were bodied by Beutler of Switzerland but when production of the steel 356 commenced, Glaser was entrusted with building the cabriolet body while Reutter Karosserie manufactured the coupé, although as production increased Reutter turned to building cabriolets also. The 356A was an evolutionary development of the original 356 and commenced production early in 1956. Its most important new features were the adoption of a one-piece curved windscreen and 15" wheels, while rubbing strakes were added to the sills. The 1,600cc engine was adopted as standard. The Porsche 356 set a new standard for small sports cars and proved adaptable to all forms of motor sport including circuit racing and rallying. In 1951 a works car finished first in the 1,100cc class at the Le Mans 24-Hour Race, thus beginning the marque's long and illustrious association with La Sarthe. Cabriolets had been manufactured right from the start of 356 production but the first open Porsche to make a significant impact was the Speedster, introduced in 1954 following the successful reception in the USA of a batch of 15 special roadsters. The Reutter-bodied Speedster was dropped in 1958 and replaced by the more civilised Convertible D, which differed principally by virtue of its larger windscreen and winding side windows. Porsche sub-contracted cabriolet body construction to a number of different coachbuilders, Convertible D production being undertaken by Drauz of Heilbronn. By the time the 356B arrived in September 1959, the car had gained a one-piece rounded windscreen and 15"-diameter wheels, and the newcomer's introduction brought with it further styling revisions. The engine, now standardised at 1,600cc, was available in three different stages of tune, the most powerful - apart from the four-cam Carrera - being the 90bhp unit of the Super 90. Built initially by Dannhauser, the Convertible D's successor was the 356B Roadster, which later was bodied by d'Ieteren Frères of Brussels. The 356B represents significant advances in driveability and comfort over earlier 356 models and is a pleasingly quick way to enjoy the traditional Porsche values of quality, reliability and mechanical robustness. The left-hand drive 356B Roadster offered here comes with Porsche Certificate of Authenticity confirming matching chassis/engine numbers and stating that it was delivered equipped with optional reclining seats and finished in silver metallic with red interior. Imported from the USA and restored in the UK (bills available) it benefits from a new hood, carpets and hood bag, and is described as in generally good condition with 'excellent' bodywork. We are advised that the car is currently taxed and MoT'd.