Lot 429: Porsche 356B 1600 Super 90 Cabriolet
While the 911, in its various forms, is certainly Porsche's longest-running model, the 356, which put the marque on the map, must certainly be the most iconic. Between 1948 and 1965, more than 76,000 were built, as coupes, speedsters and cabriolets. While the basic architecture and shape of the 356 changed very little over its lifetime, there were in effect, several generations of cars. The first, characterized by split (or bent) windshields, were built through 1954. From 1955 to 1959, a revised model designated 356A was built, with curved windshield and modified suspension. It was succeeded during 1959 by the 356B, with a new nose contour that raised the headlights upwards. There were three 1,600 cc engines, designated 1600, 1600 Super and Super 90, and four-cam 2-liter Carrera 2. The 1600s differed in compression ratio and carburetion and ranged from 60 to 90 DIN (European) horsepower. The Super 90, most potent of the pushrod engines, had a counterweighted crankshaft, sodium-filled valves and Solex P40-II carburetors. Today this engine is particularly sought after by aficionados. Although Porsche sourced bodies from a number of suppliers, by far the most came from Reutter. Karosseriefabrik Reutter & Co. of Stuttgart had a long association with Porsche. Founded as a coachbuilding firm in 1906, Reutter pioneered lightweight construction, using Weymann fabric patents and early use of aluminum. Reutter furnished prototypes to Ferdinand Porsche in 1932, during the early days of the Volkswagen project, then bodied Mercedes and BMW cars during the 1930s. The association with Porsche was rekindled in 1950, when the nascent Porsche company returned from Austria to Stuttgart. Porsche's old facilities were occupied by the US Army, so Reutter leased some plants to Porsche for car production and started producing bodies for a number of 356 models. These included coupes, cabriolets and speedsters. While Karmann also built coupes in the 1960s, most of the open cars were by Reutter. This symbiotic relationship made Reutter a de facto in-house coachbuilder, much more closely allied with Porsche than Karmann or Drauz, or other outside firms. Porsche and Reutter were finally merged in 1963, although a portion of the original Reutter company remains independent, operating under the name "Recaro." This Reutter-bodied 356B Super 90 Cabriolet was the subject of a full restoration in 2012. Stunning in Ruby Red, it has a black leather interior. The Porsche Kardex record documents its matching-number status. Fresh from restoration, it is ready for a concours debut, vintage rally or a carefree transcontinental journey.
Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia|
Bonhams, Greenwich, Connecticut
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