Please, Look at This Photo of a Porsche 356

If it doesn’t soothe you, nothing will.

byBen Keeshin|
History photo

As of this week, regular-grade Porsche 911s use forced induction. And, because Porsches are Porsches, we can only speculate about the purists. In 2035, will naturally-aspirated 911s be subject to the same kind of frenzy air-cooled Carreras are experiencing today? Should we be cashing in stocks to procure one beat-to-hell, current-generation 911 GTS and speculate wildly? Would burning a pyre of turbochargers in righteous support of natural aspiration assure our entry into the Porsche Club of America?

As our collective driveways and garages illustrate, prudent conjecture has never been a personal strength. (“Seriously, that ‘87 Mitsubishi Starion will totally be a collector’s item soon, dude!”) So let’s retreat to what’s known: Porsche’s past. Here’s a highlight, absent any of the flashpoints: no US DOT impact bumpers or water-cooled engines or automatic transmissions or turbos. In fact, this Porsche, a 1954 356, precedes even the “911” name.

The 356 is simple, serene and uncontentious. To criticize its design would be like lambasting a polished stone. The model is elegant and relaxed, despite the painful-looking sandals grasping her feet. Lose yourself in this scene of a time before Internet forums, virulent YouTube fanboys and EPA standards. It’s damn refreshing.