Illustration for article titled This Porsche 356 Is Messing With My Brain

Yes, the car you're looking at above is a Porsche. Not a Volvo, not a Nash, not a Volkswagen, not an Aston Martin, and not a Fiat: a Porsche. It's undermining everything I thought to be true in this world.


It's a 356 with a body from Swiss coachbuilder Beutler who was approached by Porsche to build a four-seater 356 in the late 1950s.

Beutler was a small company started by two brothers, Ernest and Fritz Beutler, based in the Swiss Alps. They had worked with Porsche before, designing the original 356 Cabriolet back in 1949 when Porsche was still making cars in Gmünd, Austria. The Cabriolet was a big hit at the Geneva Motor Show, so Porsche put it in production with Reutter handling the coachbuilding, since Beutler was a very small operation.


In 1957, the Beutler brothers decided to make a more practical 356, so they built five of them with Porsche drivetrains and the platform from the Beetle. Porsche liked the idea, so they approached Beutler to make more and sell them through their dealerships, but they'd have to look more like conventional 356s. Beutler didn't want to sell cars through Porsche dealerships or change the looks, so the two companies parted ways.

Illustration for article titled This Porsche 356 Is Messing With My Brain

The reason it's messing with my head is that it kinda looks like an amalgamation of late '50s/early '60s non-Porsche sports cars. Overall it looks most like a Volvo P1800, but the front end is sort of looks like an embiggened Nash Metropolitan, or perhaps a Fiat. The front fenders also are somewhat reminiscent of an Aston Martin DB4.

There's also something very Karmann Ghia about it. It's a long hooded 4 seater based on a Beetle with an air-cooled flat four, so it's kind of the same exact car. Beutler also made a cabriolet which is very Sunbeam Tiger from some angles.


Maybe it's just weird to see a Porsche that doesn't look like a Porsche. I don't intend for this to be a criticism, but it just sort of looks like a generic car from the era.

(Make sure to turn on subtitles for this video)

Either way, a fascinating footnote in Porsche history.

Photo Credits: Beutler

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