In August of 1954, the four-cam engine was fitted in a 356 for the first time using a leftover Gmünd coupe aluminum body shell and built to be an ultra-lightweight competition car. The 356 SL (Superleicht) was campaigned shortly after its completion in the most demanding rally race of its time, the Liege-Rome-Liege rally. At the conclusion of the four-day-long nonstop race, the 356 SL had taken the overall win and convinced Ferry Porsche that the Typ 547 engine was durable enough to be offered in a road car. Just two years after the Typ 547’s first test in a 550 and a year after the 356 SL’s outright victory, the 356 “GS” versions were offered to customers. It offered a 33% increase in power and driving excitement that was unmatched but at a price of nearly double that of its pushrod-engine-equipped siblings. Of the roughly 76,000 356s built over the years, fewer than 1,000 of them were fitted with the “Carrera” four-cam motors. Over the following years, the four-cam engines underwent several revisions for specific applications, as well as to improve reliability and power output. Beginning in 1962, the 130 horsepower 2,000cc Type 587/1 engine was implemented in the Carrera 2s.
This 1962 356 B Carrera 2 Coupe, chassis 120840, was completed at the factory on July 5th, 1962, and was one of the first 50 to have been completed and sold. According to the Kardex, it left the factory in Ruby Red paintwork with a black leatherette interior with grey corduroy seat inserts and optioned with ventilated chrome steel wheels, a chrome signal ring, and an electric sunroof. As a Carrera, it is already a special car and one of only 310 of its type completed. Of those 310, just 27 Carrera 2 GS coupes by Reutter were ordered with the electric sunroof option from the factory, further adding to its rarity.
Chassis 120840 has been well documented over its years of ownership. It was first delivered to Dr. Wolfgang Zerna, a university professor in Hannover, Germany. Like many of the other Carreras, chassis 120840 received a factory-supplied gearbox replacement at 43,600km in 1963 as well as a correct, factory-supplied 587/1 motor at 78,500km in 1966- both of which are documented on the Kardex and confirmed by a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity, and remain with the car today. The car passed on to two owners before being purchased in 1971 by Seth Anderson. Mr. Anderson went to great lengths to trace the specifics of his newly acquired Carrera 2, and understood that it was a highly original and significant sports car. After 37 years of single ownership, he passed the car on to Chuck Lawson of Dallas, Texas. Mr. Lawson commissioned a Concours restoration that spanned four years. The restoration was completed in 2013 and included an engine rebuild by Jacques Le Friant of Scott’s Porsche Parts in National City, California. The interior and exterior refreshed in its original color scheme, and the body panels retain the correct numbers matching stamps. The high standard of the restoration work led the Carrera 2 to receive a number of awards at premier Concours events and remains today in spectacular condition.
The Carrera 2 represented the culmination of Porsche’s racing technology fitted into a road car package and the ultimate performance-first sports car in the 356 lineup. Today, these cars are prized by enthusiasts and collectors for their heritage, rarity, and significance in Porsche history.