Pre-A Porsche 356 party in Italy

Every year, a small group of enthusiastic friends spend a weekend together with their toys: the Porsche 356 Pre-A. These cars are not simply the first examples of a celebrated model, but the beginning of the Porsche legend...

Quality over quantity

The Porsche 356 Pre-A meeting began nine years ago, aiming not for quantity but for quality. The most recent gathering took place in Italy in late September, near Reggio Emilia.

Twenty-five cars took part, enjoying the landscapes of this beautiful region, where the empty mountain roads proved perfect for the cars. Almost all the Pre-A’s years and body types were represented, with some rare examples among them. A highlight was the 550 Spyder #0040 which arrived on Friday morning, and spent the whole weekend with the group. No, it’s not a Pre-A... but would you have turned it away?

Different reasons for cherishing the same car…

Michel, from France (Olive Green 1951 Coupé): “When I was younger, I had many classic cars, mostly French and American. One day, I went to a meeting and a friend of mine arrived with a 1951 Coupé. I was amazed, and decided I had to have one. I began with a 1952 Coupé in bad condition, which I completely restored and sold a few years ago. In the meantime, I found a 1952 Coupé and this 1951 Coupé. The car was repainted long ago in a non-original colour, but it has such a wonderful patina that I want to preserve it in this condition for as long as possible.”

Bernard, from Switzerland (Warson Motors sunroof 1955 Coupé): “I was part of the VW scene for a long time, and the Pre-A was a dream I couldn’t afford. Then, a few years ago, I had the opportunity to buy one for a bargain price, so I didn’t hesitate. The dream came true, and now I drive it as much as I can.”

Angling towards eligibility 

Alberto, from Italy (Red 1955 Speedster): “I've had a few 356s, and the last one was a 1958 Speedster. But I wanted something more exclusive and eligible for the Mille Miglia. A friend of mine heard about this 1955 Speedster for sale, so I sold my other car to buy it. I definitely wanted a Speedster because it’s lighter than the Convertible and, in my opinion, more fun to drive. But... I don’t like red, so I’m looking for another Pre-A Speedster in either Ivory or Speedster Blue.”

Robert, from the Netherlands (Black 1951 Coupé): “I love all Pre-As, but there’s one thing I love above all else: a Pre-A with wood. So, when I started my collection, I had no option but to buy a split window to have the wooden parts on the doors. I have some others waiting for restoration, but my next project is a Gmünd Coupé.”

Göran, from Sweden (Silver 1952 Coupé): “Sweden has been a very big market for Porsche since the creation of the brand but, in the 70s, nobody wanted these old 356s, because of the 911. I’ve had many 356s, but I kept Pre-As for one reason: the shape. This shape is incredible, and really unique.”

At the end of such a weekend you feel like a member of this small family, which doesn’t intend to grow much bigger – the organisers prefer to keep the atmosphere of the meeting just as it is. Hence the rendezvous for next year has already been decided… but it’s a secret!

Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2014

You can find numerous Porsche 356 Pre-As for sale in the Cassic Driver Market.