One of the most recognisable and pretty sportscars of all-time, pen was first put to paper in 1947 with the design of 356 by Ferdinand Porsche during the second world war in 1947. This was shortly followed by the production of the first rolling chassis in Gmund Austria and took to the road in the following March with his son Ferry Porsche behind the wheel.
With just 1121cc it was hardly a firecracker. However, this important car paved the way for the successful series of 356 coupe models that would follow and these early 356 `Gmund` Coupes are highly prized within the 356 cognate today. For the general enthusiast, however, the later cars are a far more practical proposition to own and enjoy.
Production quickly moved from Gmund in Austria to Stuttgart in Germany and the coach built bodyshells were initially produced Reutter, who were quickly joined by Glaser and latterly Karmann to keep up with increasing demand.
By 1960, the 356 had developed from an interesting and pretty design, largely based on VW mechanicals into a thoroughly developed sportscar, that was often the envy of its competitors for its build quality, reliability and strong performance from the relatively modest power output, with even the standard variants able to achieve the magic 100mph. Production of the 356 continued until 1965 when it was eventually replaced by the 911.
We are pleased to offer this 1962 356 B Cabriolet for sale, finished in silver metallic with blue interior and blue convertible hood, a correct combination in period.
A letter from Porsche GB confirms this T6 Reutter bodied 356 is a matching number LHD car, although it should be noted its original colour was champagne yellow.
Little is known about the early history of CN:157433, although a letter on file from the previous owner, who had been its custodian since the mid-80s, throws up some interesting history.
Being South African and residing in Johannesberg, finding a 356 had proved to be a difficult task, as it appears officially imported cars to South Africa were in RHD kit form, for final assembly to avoid expensive import taxation. While this plan effectively sidestepped the 100% import duty, it still made the 356 a very expensive proposition, ensuring they are relatively scarce in South Africa. In his quest to search out a 356, he stumbled across this German factory built LHD car, that had been privately imported some years earlier and had been languishing unused for several years in a garage located in the Eastern Cape.
As a competent engineer, he had ideas of restoring the car back to its former glory himself. However, common sense quickly prevailed, and the bodyshell was sent to Sandton panel beaters, the engine went to the late Eddie Paladin for rebuild and upgrade to 75BHP and Wynberg trimmers completed the interior.
In his words “After two years of haemorrhaging money, I owned the best 356B Cabriolet in South Africa”. Unfortunately, none of this work was fully documented, as he didn’t feel it was essential to do so at the time, it was obviously completed to a high standard as he entered the car into every concours for the following two years, winning on every occasion.
He continued to enjoy CN: 157433 for the next 30 years in South Africa before moving to the UK in 2015 and bringing it with him, where after some mechanical fettling by Octane Garage in Crowborough and Paragon in Five Ashes was sold to its current owner in May last year.
Whilst the years residing 5,500 feet above sea level in Johannesburg had ensured this car was in rust free condition, the new owner felt a repaint would be in order and at the same time changed the colour to silver metallic which compliments the immaculate blue interior and hood perfectly.
This pretty 356 Cabriolet is rock solid, drives beautifully and is attractively priced today for immediate enjoyment.