1960 Porsche 356
Year of manufacture1960
Within the first few years of the production of its 356 model, Porsche established itself as a leading manufacturer of lightweight sports and racing cars. However, to remain at the forefront, the company produced even lighter GT models fitted with powerful four-cam Carrera engines. To reduce weight, these cars used aluminum doors, hoods, and deck lids, along with lightened bumpers and Plexiglas side and rear windows. A mere 49 lightweight 356 B GS/ GTs were constructed, and they featured a uniquely louvered rear deck lid, a front-mounted oil cooler, an 80-liter fuel tank, roll bar, aluminum bucket seats, and leather straps for quickly raising and lowering the side windows. Carrera GTs went on to win a wide variety of competition events and helped cement the growing interest in Porsche street cars.
According its Porsche Kardex, the example presented here, chassis 110858, was completed on May 12, 1960, and delivered on May 21, 1960, to its first owner, Manu Sanandaji of Lausanne, Switzerland. The Kardex relates that this GT was painted Ruby Red and optioned with seat belts, Dunlop 165 x 15 tires, and a black vinyl interior. While 110858’s early history beyond its initial purchase is currently unknown, in 1986, it was purchased by Manfred Knebel of Germany. Since the 1950s, Mr. Knebel had been closely associated with Porsche, formerly owning the Porsche center in Siegen, Germany, and had serviced current and older models, particularly the 356. Mr. Knebel also collected four-cam Porsches, and formerly owned a 904 GTS. In 1988, Mr. Knebel had 110858 certified by the FIA, and he campaigned it in a wide range of vintage races through the late 1980s and early 1990s. Documented by records on file, these races included the Historic Grand Prix at Zolder, and races at Nürburgring, including the Eifel Classic.
The consignor, a noted four-cam enthusiast, acquired 110858 about three years ago from Germany. With a collection that included 10 four-cam 356s, the consignor realized the extreme rarity of finding a factory GS/GT with a matching-numbers engine. An exacting rotisserie restoration was undertaken to return 110858 to outstanding condition. The car was disassembled at the consignor’s shop, with metalwork performed by his staff, and bodywork and paintwork completed by Ida Automotive of Morganville, New Jersey, which is documented by photos on file.
Well-known four-cam specialist Jeff Adams at Speedsport Tuning of Danbury, Connecticut, disassembled the engine’s top end and converted it from its already highly desirable 692/3 form to an even more desirable 692/3A specification. A recent report from Adams details all aspects of the car and summarizes his work. The report notes: “Original numbers matching four cam engine installed, P95072 type 692/3. Recent service work including new spark plugs, compression and leakdown check with good numbers, valve adjustment. Engine has been converted to the more powerful and desirable 692/3A specifications including high lift intake cam lobes, special intake camshafts with external flywheels, Solex 44PII4 carburetors. Sebring style ‘stinger’ GT exhaust installed as well.”
Adams also performed suspension and brake work and noted some of the car’s distinctive features: “Cold air engine intake scoops are installed on the bottom side of the louvered decklid, a unique factory accessory used only on GT cars and rarely seen. GT interior features bucket Speedster style seats, vinyl GT floor covering, roll bar, Plexiglas rear and side windows with leather strap pullup mechanism. No radio with blockoff plate. All the original correct Carrera specific dash gauges have been restored. Large 80 liter GT fuel tank. Bumpers and trim restored as original with GT trim, no rubber center strip.” The consignor reports that he has spent over $250,000 on the restoration, enlisting the help of PCA judge and four-cam aficionado Peter Bartelli to ensure the correctness of many small details.
Many Carrera-engined 356s lost their original engines early on, so the fact that this already rare 356 B GS/GT retains its matching-numbers engine (as documented by its Kardex) makes it even rarer and more desirable. With so many fascinating features, it also offers a great opportunity to admire the company’s weight-saving techniques and its incredible four-cam engine, all within the same package. This 356 is one of the most exciting four-cam Porsches to appear at auction in recent memory, and offers a significant opportunity for collectors to add a very elusive model to their stable.