1960 Porsche 356
Year of manufacture1960
Number of seats2
1960 Porsche 356B 1600 Super Cabriolet
Registration no. 339 UYO
Chassis no. 154172
One of the all-time great sports cars, the 356 was the work of Ferry Porsche. Ferry's 356 was based on the Volkswagen designed by his father, and like the immortal 'Beetle', employed a platform-type chassis with rear-mounted air-cooled engine and all-independent torsion bar suspension. Introduced in 1948, the Porsche 356 set a new standard for small sports cars and proved adaptable to all forms of motor sport including circuit racing and rallying. In 1951 a works car finished first in the 1,100cc class at the Le Mans 24-Hour Race, thus beginning the marque's long and illustrious association with La Sarthe.
The first phase of development saw the 356's engine grow to 1.3 and then to 1.5 litres, the original split windscreen replaced by a one-piece and a Porsche synchromesh gearbox adopted. 1955 marked the arrival of the restyled 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 the first open Porsche to make a significant impact was the Speedster, introduced in 1954 following the successful reception in the USA of a batch of 15 special roadsters. The Reutter-bodied Speedster was dropped in 1958 and replaced by the more civilised Convertible D, which differed principally by its larger windscreen and winding side windows.
By the time the 356B arrived in September 1959, the car had gained a one-piece rounded windscreen and 15"-diameter wheels, and the newcomer's introduction brought with it further styling revisions. The engine, now standardised at 1,582cc, was available in three different stages of tune, the most powerful, apart from the four-cam Carrera, being the 90bhp unit of the Super 90. The 356B represents significant advances in driveability and comfort over earlier 356 models and is a pleasingly quick way to enjoy the traditional Porsche values of quality, reliability and mechanical robustness.
Porsche sub-contracted cabriolet body construction to several different coachbuilders, the car presented here being the work of its close neighbour and collaborator, Reutter. This beautiful 356B was supplied new to Intercontinental Motors of San Antonio, Texas as confirmed by the Porsche Certificate of Authenticity and Porsche Club Great Britain inspection carried out in 2015 (documents on file). Its first owner was Mr Raymond Steinan of San Antonio, and the Porsche has had three previous keepers in the UK. Most importantly, the correct chassis numbering (72) is present on both bonnet and boot lid; the wheels are date stamped 1960; the fuel tank strip is also date stamped 9/60; and the original bonnet badge is in place.
Presented today in its rare original colour scheme of Silver Metallic with red leather interior, the car has recently undergone extensive works carried out by marque specialists, all documented from 2012 onwards. There are bills on file totalling 10,000 (dated 2012) from Classic Restoration Services together with others detailing a £2,000 spend in 2013 at Porsche specialist, No. 5 Garage. The last service was carried out by the renowned PR Services in 2017 at a cost of £5,000 spend (bills on file) and the car is freshly MoT'd. These nimble little 356 Porsche Cabriolets with their robust easy pull up roof are eminently more usable than a Speedster at a fraction of the price. Benefiting from significant recent expenditure this crisp example would be the perfect candidate to participate in various upcoming continental tours and events in 2020.