We have not yet published a test on the Porsche 356 A series that came out last fall. So I called Huschke von Hanstein, press officer, racing manager, occasional racing driver, and also authorized signatory of Porsche KG, and asked him to put a Super and a “lady” – as the normal type is popularly called – at my disposal for a few days. “But you know,” he said, “our cars are constantly pumped out to journalists all over the world. And when they come back, the next candidates are always already in the factory yard with hungry eyes. Is your own car broken down, then?”
“No,” I said, “I don’t want a loaner car from you, I want to measure through the two 1600s. Surely there must be a decent car to be found somewhere!” But there wasn’t. We then agreed that I would take over Huschke’s private Super with over 50,000 km on short notice when he flew to the Avus race in Berlin. In the meantime, a 1600cc lady from the new production was to be run in a bit, which I wanted to take over after returning the Super, in order to give it a good going over.
When I returned the green Super, there was a sparkling new lady in blue with 900 km on the speedometer. Mindful of the fact that the air-cooled Porsche engines only develop their full power at around 10,000 km, I expressed reservations about whether I could take this still very young girl sharply.
Archive auto motor und sport
Despite numerous modifications, the 356 A still looks very much like the original model.
An almost untouched lady
“Don’t be falsely ashamed,” Huschke said. “But we can have a look to see if she does it yet.” I still had work to do at the plant. When I saw the lady again, she had 1,150 km on the speedometer and had lost her awe of high revs. So the two test cars were of very different provenance: the Super with over 50,000 km on the roads of Europe driven by a wiry, stern gentleman, and the blue lady young as the dewy morning that can still become anything.
On the level of this cheerful composure, with which the house of Porsche makes two so completely unselected cars available for a test, lies the attitude to the performance of their vehicles in general. This also includes the mentality of understatement that is otherwise only common in England, as it is revealed in the owner’s manual, for example. There the probably unique case comes to light that not only the values for the maximum speed, but also the acceleration and – as I have justified reason to assume – the power curves for the two 1600 models are indicated more unfavorably than they actually run.
The lady is listed at 160 km/h and 36.9 seconds for the kilometer with a standing start, but I stopped the dewy-eyed girl at 163 km/h and 34.8 seconds. The Super figures at 175 km/h and 34.5 s for the km with a standing start. Huschke’s faithful warhorse ran 182 km/h and needed 34 s for the standing kilometer. That these values are achievable with the catalog-standard 60 and 75 hp, respectively, I would strongly doubt. On the other hand, the customer has the guarantee that his car will at least reach the catalog values, and if it then exceeds them, he is particularly satisfied. The Prussian “be more than it seems” is being practiced here by Austrians in Swabia.