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Lot 230: Porsche 356 Pre A Speedster

Techno Classica, Coys (2 April 2011)

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 aluminum 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 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 side screens, a lightweight hood and more basic interior. Selling at a competitive $2,995, and available with 55/70bhp 1,488cc engine, the 100mph 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.

Coys is proud to present another Porsche 356 Speedster, after its successful sale of a similar car at their last years auction in Padova, Italy. Again this pre A speedster presents itself in superb condition, being finished in white with red leather interior. The car was exported to main importer Max Hofmann New York in 1955 and came back to Europe in 1995 when a ground up restoration was started, that was finished in 2000. The restoration was featured in several Dutch classic car magazines, copies of the article are available in the cars file. The car was later sold to Germany and is now offered with German paperwork and historic registration amongst other documentation and its original and a 2nd. engine. These early 356 Speedsters are becoming increasingly rare and rank amongst the most desirably 356`s, much sought after by enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Lot Details
Auction Techno Classica
Coys, Essen, Germany
TypeCar
Lot Number230
Estimate€130000-€150000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)€138000
Year1955
Condition rating1
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number80876
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2