Although Ferdinand Porsche had established his automotive design consultancy in the early 1930s, his name would not appear on a car until 1949. When it did, it graced one of the all-time great sports cars: the Porsche 356. Having commenced manufacture with a short run of aluminum-bodied cars built at Gmünd, Porsche began volume production of the steel-bodied 356 coupés at its old base in Stuttgart, at first in a location shared with coachbuilders Reutter and then, from 1955, in its original factory at Zuffenhausen.
The work of Ferry Porsche, the 356 was based on the Volkswagen designed by his father. Like the immortal ‘Beetle’, the 356 employed a platform-type chassis with a rear-mounted, air-cooled engine and torsion bar all-independent suspension, yet somehow contrived to offer a level of performance that belied the basic layout’s humble origins. Regularly revised and updated, Porsche’s landmark sports car would remain in production well into the 911 era, the final examples being built in 1965.
In 1951, an aluminum-bodied works car finished first in the 1,100cc class at the Le Mans 24-Hour Race and 20th overall, thus beginning the marque’s long and illustrious association with La Sarthe. Constant development saw the 356’s engine progressively enlarge, with 1.3-liter and 1.5-liter units first becoming available in 1951. In 1952 the original split windscreen was replaced by a one-piece, and a Porsche synchromesh gearbox was adopted.
1955 marked the arrival of the revised 356A, the newcomer being readily distinguished by its curved windscreen and 15” (down from 16”) wheels.
Cabriolets had been manufactured right from the start of 356 production, but Porsche went on to make a significant impact with the Speedster, which was introduced in 1954 following the successful reception in the US of a batch of fifteen special roadsters. Porsche sub-contracted Cabriolet body manufacture to a number of different coachbuilders, Reutter undertaking the bulk of production with significant contributions from Karmann of Osnabrück, Drauz of Heilbronn, and d’Ieteren of Brussels.
This breathtaking Pre-A Cabriolet, fitted with the more powerful 1500cc motor, has just been restored by a marque specialist to huge levels of detail and care, and is presented in factory-fresh condition. The Porsche is supplied with a detailed valuation report which outlines the work completed, and is beautifully presented in black with a forest green leather interior.
These early Pre-A Porsches are both very rare and desirable in the current market, and this stunning example, in truly excellent condition in all respects, would be equally at home on long country roads or a concours lawn.