Pre-356A Porsches can be quickly recognized by their split or "bent" windshield. Credit for the car's impressive speed (up to 90 mph) was mostly due to its revolutionary aerodynamic shape and 1,300 pound curb weight, as the early 1300-cc flat fours eked out a mere 40-hp. Production numbers were low for the hand-hammered aluminum 356s (just 4 built in 1948, 25 in 1949.
By 1952, the "Super" 1300 S (60-hp) and 1500S (70-hp) engines were pushing the 356 beyond 100 mph, and American demand was growing. In 1954, a stripped-down version of the cabriolet debuted as the low-cost, lightweight "Speedster," considered the most coveted body (for all generations of the 356) by collectors today.