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Porsche 356 Pre-A 1500

Porsche 356 Pre-A 1500

Cabriolet, 1953

Highlights

  • From a major Porsche collection
  • Superb example of a rare original Pre A 356 Cabriolet
  • Porsche certificate of authenticity

This car has recently been extracted from a very big collection of Porsches where it has resided for a number of years.

A superbly presented example of an original Pre A Cabriolet

Wonderful colour combination with desirable options

A very rare car eligible for numerous events worldwide

Porsche Certificate of Authenticity

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Das Fahrzeug im Detail

The beginning of the Porsche story with racing success on the track and commercial success on the road, the 356 was the genesis of the Porsche legend and the first car to carry the Porsche name. The earliest 356 models were hand-built with aluminium bodies at the old Gmund sawmills in Austria. 52 cars were built in Gmund between 1948 and 1951 only 8 were Cabriolet models – all of which had interior and body construction sub-contracted out to Glaser and Reutter. These cars were in effect prototypes for the forthcoming series production 356 and ran VW 1100 cc engines.

As awareness of these early 356 models grew and demand increased, it was inevitable that a more viable commercial production process was required, hence the evolution to building steel bodies using more cost effective and less labour intensive practices. Whilst the old Gmund workshop was winding down and the Porsche factory in Stuttgart had been taken over as repair shop for the US Army, there was insufficient space available for series production in-house. For this reason, Porsche made an agreement with a couple of alternative venues including Stuttgart based coachbuilder Reutter – who had worked with them to build the VW Beetle prototypes – to use part of their workshops to build steel bodied cars, including the Cabriolet model, until 1955 when the new Zuffenhausen factory came on stream.

The 356 Cabriolet was a popular, albeit expensive model derivative and was built from 1950 to 1965. The most desirable models include the early cars and specifically those built between 1948 and 1955 and known as the „Pre A.“ It should be borne in mind that the Pre A models were almost development cars with specification evolving as Reutter built the cars.

The mid 1952 to 1954 Porsche 356 Pre-A „Curved Window“

Specifically these cars featured a number of refinements from the prototypes, including a wider more elegant rear wheel arch – providing more space for the wheels, more cohesive integration of the bumpers as separate components into the body, which also featured attractive curved sills which wrapped into the body – unlike later A series cars. The key feature was the centre-curved one piece windscreen which replaced the earlier 2 piece split screen. These models were fitted with 16″ vented wheels instead of the later 15″ examples fitted on the „A“. The vented wheels were now fitted with 3.25″ lighter wheels, widened from the earlier 3″ derivative and noticeably improved brake cooling. The fuel tank was widened and secured with a metal strap instead of bolts, the turn signal switch on the dash was replaced with an indicator stalk and the instrument dials became green on black instead of the earlier white on black.

The overall appearance of this derivative of the „Pre A“ resulted in an aerodynamic pure shape, often affectionately known as an „upside down bathtub“ (!), which is instantly recognisable and sought after by 356 afficionados.

Mechanically the early problematic VW crash box was replaced in 1953 by the development of a new gearbox incorporating Porsche-designed gears and full synchromesh – made by Getrag. The engine options of 1100 and 1300 cc were ultimately supplemented in 1952 with the introduction of the larger 1500cc engine, endowing the lightweight 356 with a noticeable increase in performance over the earlier 1100cc VW based engine and 1300cc derivatives.

Bolstered reclining seats and genuninely weatherproof multi-layer hood added a degree of comfort, refinement and sound proofing which was class leading for a small sportscar and luxury options also included a Telefunken tube radio with AM, SW and programmable preselective pushbuttons, usually paired to a Hirschmann red tip antenna. The 356 Cabriolet Pre A was presented as a luxury sportscar with a high level of trim suitable for fast extended touring and priced above larger engined sportscars such as the Jaguar XK120. In fact the high price of the 356 Cabriolet – $3645 for a base model in 1953, ultimately lead to the development of the Speedster for US importer Max Hoffman, as a cheaper variant of the convertible theme.

A total of 1165 curved window cabriolets were made and 394 Reutter built Porsche 356 Cabriolet models were made in 1953. These are rare cars, especially when you consider that 4145 Speedster and 1350 Carreras were made. It also should be noted that although these cars were now built in steel – they were still largely handmade and presented a development environment for Porsche to refine mass production processes.

Relating to other Porsche 356 models, as a rule of thumb – „if the top goes down – the value goes up“ – specifically relevant to Pre A examples.

In 1955 the higher volume production Porsche 356 A was introduced – representing the end of production of the the rare and sought after Pre A models. Porsche went on to build over 76,000 356 models up until the end of production in 1965 and doubtless the early success of the 356 at Le Mans in 1951 and the rave reviews to which the early Pre A cars were received by the media, significantly contributed to the huge commercial success of the first Porsche model.

#60077
Our car was supplied new in domestic German market specification on the 14th of April 1953 to Porsche dealer Hahn Motorfahrzeuge GMBH of Stuttgart. Delivered in ivory (code R504) and fitted with a red leather interior, #60077 is one of the rare „Knickscheibe“ one-piece, curved windscreen models, made for only two years between 1953 and 1955. Only 394 „curved window“ Cabriolets were built in 1953, from a total production of 1165 made.

Confirmed by the Porsche certificate accompanying the car, it was optioned with a Telefunken tube radio with AM and SW and programmable pre-selective pushbuttons with a Hirschmann „red“ tip antenna, in addition to Bosch parts, all of which are on the car today. As a rare „curved window“ car, it also has the fuel tank secured with a metal strap, the indicator stalk and green on black instrument dials.

Delivered new with the desirable 1500cc option and today fitted with the correct 1953 Type 546 roller bearing 1500cc engine numbered to the year of Cabriolet production #31300, the car was part of a major collection in the US and was advertised for sale in June 2004 by Porsche specialist European Collectibles of Costa Mesa, California. It later returned to Europe to a collector Rolf Strausbach in Germany. The car has clearly benefited from an expert sensitive restoration at some stage and today presents in superb condition. Doubtless due to it’s rarity and value, the car has been scarcely used since it’s return to Europe. The car was sold by Auto Singen in late 2014 and imported into the UK in early 2015 by a major early VW and Porsche collector and has not been used in his custodianship. In fact the odometer reads 80 km today – it was 78 km in 2015! This is probably an accurate reflection of the car’s entire usage since restoration.

It comes with a Porsche certificate of authenticity and other correspondence with the Porsche factory together with other sales and maintenance documentation. The correct spare wheel is fitted to the car and it has recently been serviced, with fresh fluids and filters, wheel bearings, king pin and bush replacement, as well as including a check over of all the major electrical wiring and component functionality. It is now absolutely on the button and ready to resume its customary role as the jewel in the crown of any Porsche collection, or deserves a chance to provide an enchanting driving companion on any historic vehicle event.

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Fahrzeugdaten

Baujahr: 1953
Erstzulassung: April 1953
Modell: 356 Pre-A 1500
FIN: 60077
Karosserie: Cabriolet
Baureihe: 356
Laufleistung: 80 km
Leistung: 55 PS
Hubraum: 1,5 Liter
Lenkung: links
Getriebe: Manuell
Antrieb: Heckantrieb
Kraftstoff: Benzin
Innenfarbe: Rot
Innenmaterial: Leder
Außenfarbe: Weiß
Hersteller Farbbezeichnung (außen): r504
Zustand: Vollrestauriert
Neu / gebraucht: Gebrauchtwagen
Fahrbereit: ja
Land der Erstauslieferung: Deutschland
Fahrzeugstandort: GBVereinigtes Königreich

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Porsche 356 Pre-A 1500

Preis: GBP 295.000
GB1953

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