Lot 129: 1964 Porsche 356C Coupe
Although Ferdinand Porsche did not commence building cars until 1948, his engineering pedigree was well established with designs ranging from the awesome Auto Union V16 Grand Prix car to the Tiger tank. After World War Two, however, and fresh from serving a two year prison sentence as a result, Porsche decided in 1947 to build his own sports car. Given project number 356, by August 1948 the first production model had been completed. With aluminium fastback coachwork, pressed steel chassis and the engine behind the rear axle, manufacture began late in 1948 and the 356 debuted at the 1949 Geneva Show. Power came from a 40bhp, 1,086cc engine mated to a four-speed gearbox, with independent torsion bar/trailing arm suspension and drum brakes all round. Allied to 87mph and 0-60mph in 17 seconds was excellent fuel economy due to good aerodynamics and low weight. In 1951 - the year of the first of Porsche's many Le Mans entries, finishing 20th overall - 1,290 cc and 1,488 cc engines were introduced. The following year came an all-synchromesh gearbox and one-piece windscreen. By 1954, however, Porsche sales in the USA were suffering from the onslaught of MG, Austin Healey and Triumph, whose cars provided as much exhilaration for a lot less money. It was thus that coachbuilder Reutter penned a minimal shell based on the convertible 356 with low wrap-around windscreen, reduced frontal area and height, removable sidescreens, a lightweight hood and more basic interior. Selling at a competitive $2,995, and available with 55/70bhp 1,488cc engine, the 100/ll0mph Speedster proved popular on road and track - weighing 1501b less than a standard 356, it was also quicker and in 1955 a Speedster won the SCCA's 1,500cc class; indeed, actor James Dean raced one. The same year saw the introduction of the 356A with 1,290cc or 1,582cc engines, the latter producing 60bhp/75bhp. Having resided in a collection for 15 years, this 75bhp 356 C Coupe presents itself in near concours condition. Restored in gleaming black with a matching red leather interior, the car features its original Blaupunkt wireless with Hirschmann antenna and European heating system. A full mechanical service and 'repairs as necessary' have also been done on this fine example recently. These included a completely new braking system amongst other significant works undertaken on this model. Delivered new to Sweden and coming with full EU paperwork, the car is ready to be used by someone who wants a 356 Coupe in exceptional condition. It is certainly fair to say that a replacement would be impossible to find in this condition at this price.
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