The first car to bear the Porsche name was a two-seater roadster, built in 1948 largely using VW components and carrying the model number Type 356 to designate the 356th project carried out by Porsche’s design team. The first production models – all coupés – were built in a saw mill at Gmünd in Austria, but it soon became clear that the cramped surroundings were unsuited to the series production of a quality sports car. A move back to Porsche’s original facility in Stuttgart offered the opportunity to expand production, and so the 356 legend began…
Early cars built between 1950 and 1955 are generally referred to as ‘Pre-A’ models, these being superseded in 1955 by the 356A. In typical Porsche fashion, this was a clear case of ‘evolution not revolution’ as few changes were made for the sake of change – improving the breed was the order of the day. In 1959, the A-series cars made way for the 356B range, itself followed in 1963 by the 356C. From the much sought after Speedster (built between 1954 and 1958) to Coupés and sophisticated Roadster and Cabriolets, there is a 356 to suit every taste. For an example of Porsche at its most pure, there is no substitute.
And so we are pleased to offer this 1962 356B 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 chassis number 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 cars were officially imported into South Africa in RHD kit form, ready for final assembly to avoid costly import taxes. While this plan effectively sidestepped the 100 per cent import duty, it made the 356 a very expensive proposition ensuring they would remain 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, while the engine went to the late Eddie Paladin for rebuild and upgrade to 75bhp. The interior was completed by Wynberg trimmers. In his words ‘After two years of haemorrhaging money, I owned the best 356B Cabriolet in South Africa’.
While unfortunately none of this work was fully documented, as the owner didn’t feel it was important to do so at the time, it was obviously completed to a high standard as he entered the car into several concours over the following two years, winning on every occasion.
He continued to enjoy chassis number 157433 for the next 30 years in South Africa before moving to the UK in 2015 with the car. After some mechanical fettling by Octane Garage in Crowborough and Paragon in Five Ashes, it was sold to its current owner in May last year.
While the years residing 5500 feet above sea level in Johannesburg had ensured this car remained in rust free condition, the new owner felt a repaint would be in order. At the same time, it was decided to change the colour to silver metallic, which perfectly compliments the immaculate blue interior and hood.
This pretty 356 Cabriolet is rock solid, drives beautifully and is attractively priced today ready for immediate enjoyment.