2018 Shannons Sydney Spring Classic Auction
1953 Porsche 356 'Pre A' Coupe
Result: PASSED IN
|Engine||Flat four-cylinder, 1488cc|
This lot is no longer available
Porsche’s remarkable 356 put the Zuffenhausen Company firmly on the automotive map in the 1950s, with Dr Ferdinand’s original design - a somewhat basic sports car closely based on Volkswagen’s Beetle - evolving into a technically advanced, beautifully resolved machine over a production life spanning more than fifteen years. The earliest Gmünd-built cars were somewhat underpowered and primitive in terms of equipment, but the 356 gradually evolved into a sophisticated sports car over the next 15 years. Reutter of Stuttgart were contracted to build the subtly restyled bodywork from 1950 onwards, initially with a split windscreen, painted dash and a bench seat as standard (bucket seats were an option). The earliest 356s were powered by a Volkswagen-derived flat four displacing 1068cc and rated at 40 horsepower, but the 1300cc motor became an option from 1951 onwards. In 1952 the body was further refined with a one-piece windscreen (bent in the middle) and revised bumpers, while a new 1488cc motor became available with a roller-bearing crankshaft, twin Solex carburettors and a handy 60 horsepower on tap. Other refinements included duplex front brakes, a rear parcel shelf and improved instrumentation (the tacho became standard). Stronger brakes, full synchromesh gearboxes across the range and a new two-spoke steering wheel appeared in 1953, while two new 1500 motors became available, the 55 horsepower standard unit and a 70 horsepower Super. Sold in Coupe, Cabriolet and ultimately Speedster variants, the so-called ‘Pre-A’ 356 is highly prized amongst collectors for its rarity and design purity. Depending on the source consulted, Porsche built 6,252 356 Coupes between 1950 and 1954, of which an estimated 300 or so ‘Bent Window’ versions survive, making these early cars exceptionally rare and sought after amongst 356 aficionados today.