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Lot 622
1959 Porsche 356A Cabriolet


Selling on Saturday Evening

From the Estate of John Hendrickson

CHASSIS NO: 152416

• Recipient of a high quality restoration
• Open-air Porsche motoring at its finest
• Elegant ivory over red leather color scheme

1,582 cc OHV flat four-cylinder engine, two Solex carburetors, 70 HP at 5,400 RPM, four-speed manual transaxle, four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 82.7”

Although Ferdinand Porsche had established his automotive design consultancy in the early 1930s, his name would not appear on a car until 1949. When it did, it graced one of the all-time great sports cars: the Porsche 356. Having commenced manufacture with a short run of aluminum-bodied cars built at Gmünd, Porsche began volume production of the steel-bodied 356 coupé at its old base in Stuttgart, at first in premises shared with coachbuilders Reutter and then, from 1955, in its original factory at Zuffenhausen. The work of Ferry Porsche, the 356, was based on the Volkswagen designed by his father, and like the immortal 'Beetle,' it employed a platform-type chassis with a rear-mounted air-cooled engine and all-independent torsion bar suspension. Each year of its existence, Porsche continued to make improvements as new innovations in automotive technology were created. The first generation of the 356 was produced through 1955 with a total number of 7,627 manufactured. The bodies of the early 356 models were handcrafted of aluminum. In 1951, the 356 made a good showing at Le Mans and gained international attention, which boosted its popularity. The 356A became the second generation which received a redesign with the bodies now produced in all steel material. The bodies and seat assemblies were made by the Reutter company, which Porsche acquired in 1963. A total of 21,045 356A models were made, and most sales were in Germany and Austria.

Cabriolets had been manufactured right from the start of 356 production, but the first open Porsche to make a significant impact was the Speedster, introduced in 1954, following the successful reception in the U.S. of a batch of 15 special roadsters. The Speedster was dropped in 1958 and replaced by the more civilized Convertible D, which differed principally by virtue of its larger windscreen and winding side windows. Porsche sub-contracted cabriolet body construction to a number of different coachbuilders including Drauz of Heilbronn, d'Ieteren of Brussels, and of course, Reutter. By the time the 356B arrived in September 1959, the car had gained a one-piece rounded windscreen and 15-inch diameter wheels, and the newcomer's introduction brought with it further styling revisions and an engine now standardized at 1,600 cc.

John Hendrickson knew what he had and opted to commission a full restoration on this eye catching Cabriolet. The estate has indicated that the car carries its numbers matching engine but there are no documents that will confirm that in the file. This well-kept example, finished elegantly in factory Ivory (5704), is a 356A Cabriolet, bodied by Reutter and the most deluxe convertible offered that year. The 1.6-litre Super flat-four is equipped with dual Zenith downdraft carburetors and was factory rated at 70 horsepower. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a four-speed manual transaxle. Equipment includes chrome-plated 15-inch wheels, a tan convertible soft top, a tan top boot and chrome bumper over riders with dual exhaust tips exiting through the rear bumper guards. The interior features bucket seats upholstered in red leather, matching door panels, beige square-weave carpets, and a red dash pad, as well as a period-correct radio. The ivory steering wheel frames VDO green-letter instrumentation consisting of a 6,000-rpm tachometer, a 120-mph speedometer, and gauges for oil temperature and fuel level. With a plush well-lined convertible top and a well-appointed leather interior, this beautiful Cabriolet is a comfortable, easy-to-drive, all-weather car that is ideal for touring and club events.

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