Spark 1955 Porsche 356 Continental

By Harvey Goranson

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Max Hoffman was the sole importer of Porsches in the early 1950’s. In 1954, he convinced Porsche to make a US-only roadster variant of the 356, which had a raked windscreen and minimal equipment. The resulting 356 America Roadster has appeared as a 1:43 resin model from both LookSmart and Matrix.

With plans to introduce the curved-windshield 356A in late 1955, Hoffman convinced Porsche to make another mostly US-bound model, the Continental, at the end of the Porsche 356 run. Ford, maker of the Lincoln Continental, brought suit, so the model name was short-lived. Some 1,200 Continental coupes and cabriolets were built.

Until now, no 1:43 scale replica of the 356 Continental has been made, though there are scads of 356 (pre-A), 356A, 356B, and 356C models out there. Per the certificate of authenticity card included with this model, Mark Wegh of the Porsche Classic Center Gelderland Netherlands and Henk Koop, President of the Porsche Model Club, are responsible for bringing this replica to fruition. It has been made by Spark in a limited edition of 356 examples. It is provided in a very attractive flip-open box, similar to that used previously by Spark for some of their more special models.

Two things strike you when you flip open that box – the color and the whitewall tires. The color, used by Porsche in 1954 and 1955, is called Terra Cotta, a very striking light brown, similar to a creamy Belgian milk chocolate or a well-creamed cup of coffee. (OK, there’s another similarity, but I’m not going to go there!) A great contrast to all the white, silver, red, and black 356 models that have been made. Whitewall tires may seem really out of place on a Porsche, but remember these were being sold in mid-1950’s America, and many sports cars were shod with them. Take a look at period pictures of MG TFs, TR3s, and Jaguar XK140s and you’ll see quite a few whitewalls.

All the brightwork is chromed with two exceptions. The window surrounds, wipers, and rear grille are a better-than-average photoetch. And, like the original, the ‘Porsche’ script front and rear, and the ‘Continental’ script on the sides, is gold finished. The taillights (all six of them) have a great translucent finish, and the headlight lenses are nicely fluted. The interior is a yellow-buckskin color, with a white steering wheel, dash details, and chrome door handles and window winders.

I have a number of resin models from AutoCult, GLM, Matrix, et al, produced in numbers ranging from 199 to 408. This is a Porsche that has not been modeled before, so all those Porschephiles out there will be wanting one, and there are only 356 to be had. To my knowledge, only one dealer has them, Selection RS in France. Great folks to deal with – as a thanks they usually put a few chocolates in the shipping box!

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