The earliest 356s were built at the Porsche’s facility in Gmünd, Austria, but by 1950 the firm had outgrown the one-time sawmill and production was transferred to Zuffenhausen. Coachwork was entrusted to Reutter and formed from steel rather than aluminium.
The 356 Cabriolet joined the line-up that same year, and while relatively spartan, the model underwent steady mechanical and cosmetic improvement. By 1953, the 356 boasted mounted bumpers, a one-piece “bent” windscreen (to replace the previous split-window arrangement), a synchromesh gearbox, and the option of a larger capacity 1,500-cc air-cooled flat-four engine that offered a marked increase in performance. These early Porsche 356s were retrospectively dubbed ‘Pre-A’ upon the arrival of the 356 A in 1955.
This interesting example of a 356 Pre-A “bent-window” Cabriolet was completed on 29 June 1953, and was one of 394 Reutter-bodied Cabriolets built that year. Cars built for the 1953 model year were the first to feature the attractive quadruple “beehive” tail-lamp arrangement. Finished in the elegant combination of Modegrau (Fashion Grey) with a Blue leather interior and Blue canvas soft-top, the car was despatched to New York importer Max Hoffman. It was one of a select few 356 Cabriolets sold new in the United States. This example was ordered with the powerful 1500 cc flat-four engine, which produced 55 horsepower at 4,400 rpm.
Little is known about the early history of this Porsche 356 Pre-A Cabriolet, but in the last decade it was exported from the United States to Europe. Acquired by the owner in 2014, chassis 60170 was purchased from an Italian owner. Today, this Porsche 356 is finished in its desirable factory-correct colour scheme and retains its matching-numbers engine and chassis, as confirmed by an accompanying digital copy of the factory Kardex report. The car is offered for sale with a tool roll and spare wheel.
As one of fewer than 400 examples built, this 1953 Porsche 356 Pre-A 1500 Cabriolet is a highly desirable variant of Porsche’s early open-top sportscar. Its splendid colour scheme only adds to its considerable appeal.
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