1955 Porsche Continental
Derived from the well-known Type 356, the Continental came factory equipped with an early signal-seeking radio, reclining seats, whitewall tires and elaborate wheel trim. The model was conceived by influential New York importer Max Hoffman who believed that the American market would be more likely to embrace a vehicle with an evocative name, rather than a mere number designation. Hoffman also inspired the Porsche crest, and Porsche Speedster and hired Frank Lloyd Wright to design spiral dealership on Park Ave. Although the term implied European sophistication and style, Porsche was forced to re-name the Continental when Ford Motor Company legal representatives informed them that they already owned the name. Porsche stopped selling the “Continental,” briefly changed the name to “European” in early 1956, and back to “356” later that year, with an “A” to denote several performance upgrades. This “Continental,” then, can be said to be a “Pre-A” Porsche 356. Interesting that Porsche was pushed to alphanumeric designations by Ford, yet no official cease-and-desist letter exists between the two companies. This car features a 75 h.p., 1500 c.c. engine, which listed at the top of the Porsche lineup in 1955 for $3,332 (vs. 195 h.p. Corvette for $2,774).
As a result, few Porsche Continentals were produced before the name was briefly changed to “European,” then back to 356.