While I seldom remove the top on my convertible to enjoy some open top motoring I do occasionally yearn for those days. My favorite time of year for doing so has always been in the Fall. Living in one of the more humid parts of the country, Fall weather brings with it a welcome crispness and obviously the array of colors on display just above you in the trees makes even the dullest of roads much more enjoyable. Combine a good road with that crisp air and the fall colors and you have some of the best driving you can find.
The only way to really increase the greatness of that natural beauty is to enjoy it in a car that is equally as beautiful. Here we see just that: a Ruby Red 1963 Porsche 356C Cabriolet, located in New York, with Tan interior and a stated 21,804 miles on it. Just thinking about it makes me want to grab the keys and head out to the mountains for some driving.
Over the weekend I looked at a pretty nice 911 Speedster up for sale. It was, as usual, very expensive, but also quite desirable. That Speedster, of course, hearkens back to the ethos of the original 356 Speedster though it is far from as spartan a ride as those very early Porsches. In fact, we might see the 911 Speedster to have greater relation to the Speedster’s successor, which is the car we see here: the Convertible D.
The Speedster was a sales success for Porsche as a gentleman’s racer: a car that could be used during the weekly commute, but then on the weekend with its stripped down features it just as easily proved to be a capable car around the track. That said, it may have been too spartan for such dual purpose. It sold well initially and then those sales slowed. Porsche then introduced the Convertible D, which added a few creature comforts back. It borrowed a standard set of seats from the 356 Coupe to replace the Speedster’s hard buckets and raised the windshield height just a bit. It even gave you the option of winding the windows. Such luxury! The Convertible D was a little bit of a compromise, but these were still pretty much no frills open-top cars.
Like the Speedster the Convertible D remains very desirable, though a few notches down the value scale. The one we see here looks absolutely beautiful: a restored Meissen Blue 1958 Porsche 356A Convertible D, located in Colorado, with Red interior.
It is quite rare to see most any vintage car on the roads. I think that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. It means, of course, when we do see one it can be a nice treat. The Porsche 356 is just such an example and until recently I could not have told you the last time I actually saw one being driven. (I won’t count the dilapidated one I saw in a mechanic’s parking) A few weeks ago it just so happens that one drove right by me. I could hear it coming and as most any car enthusiast does my ears immediately perked up as I knew from the sound that something pretty interesting was approaching. I was delighted to see it was a 356 Coupe, and even better it looked in phenomenal shape. While in pictures the 356 Coupe can look a little bubbly and almost rotund, in person the proportions look perfect with little wasted material.
Since then I’ve been keeping an eye out for a nice 356 to come up for sale. While not a Coupe, I really like this one. This is a Royal Blue 1961 Porsche 356B 1600 S Reutter Cabriolet with Light Grey interior. The condition looks quite good and the exterior color is fantastic. Like a lot of bright colors this one shows wonderfully on the 356.
Model: 356B 1600S Cabriolet
Engine: 1.6 liter flat-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 46,122 mi
Price: Reserve Auction ($129,995 Buy It Now)
1961 Porsche 356B T5 Reutter Cabriolet with excellent factory Royal Blue/Light Grey color combination: Owned by a retired executive in Santa Rosa for the past 20-plus years. Restored over 10 years ago to COA specifications.
In truth, when I first came across this Heron Grey 1961 Porsche 356B Sunroof Coupe I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to feature it. All vintage cars are somewhat niche vehicles and the 356 is no different. An early 911 attracts attention because of the long history of the model. With the 356 sometimes people notice, sometimes they don’t. Their relationship to the 911 is easy to see, but still they remain separate and possessive of their own admirers.
The more I looked at this one the more impressed I became and the more I loved the subtlety of the color palette. I’ve said before that subtly different shades of familiar colors are always interesting to me because it is in those little differences that we really begin to appreciate a particular color. I have never seen Heron Grey before. At first I thought it was Ivory; it isn’t very different from Ivory. But it isn’t Ivory as it has a slight tint of grey that gives it its name. The interior perhaps is even more interesting:
Engine: 1.6 liter flat-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 92,036 mi
Price: $169,900 Buy It Now
1961 Porsche 356 Sunroof Coupe’
Exterior Color: Reutter#739 Heron Grey
Part of private collection – Matching Numbers – Truly Breathtaking car
Hundreds of photos available. Call (770) 460-1300 for more information and details – Facility Hours 11AM-7PM Mon-Sat – or via email: Sales@GearsMotorsports.com Many detailed images including the longitudal areas, radio serial number, windshield decal, inner sunroof latch etc . . . . eBay limits images to 24 thus if you require such images please request accordingly
This is a pristine California survivor which was, in addition, completely restored in 94-95.
When we feature the Porsche 356 the point isn’t typically about performance. And, in a certain way, it isn’t about performance here either. But like the Speedster and its lightweight no frills philosophy the 356 Carrera 2 brought with it a more performance-oriented mindset and in its day was very much so about performance. The Carrera 2 featured a larger 2.0 liter flat-4 four cam engine producing 130 hp, which gave it a significant boost in power over its 1.6 liter siblings. Add to that disc brakes at all 4 wheels and you had better stopping power to rein in those extra horses. These were a technologically sophisticated model that provided Porsche’s customers with some of the best performance available all the while sporting the same elegant curves of every other 356. The one we see here comes in the particularly wonderful color combination of Oslo Blue over Tan.
A little while back I featured a 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo with a paint-to-sample exterior in Meissen Blue. It’s a color I was unfamiliar with and had never seen but which has early roots in Porsche’s history with the 356. It’s a color that really grows on you, and which we might think as beginning a line that would run through Gulf Blue and Glacier Blue as some of the lighter blues in the Porsche catalog. They’re really great colors and I think they work especially well on vintage Porsches. The car we see here takes us back to that original use of the color: a Meissen Blue 1957 Porsche 356A Coupe, located California, with a few modifications that have garnered it the ‘outlaw’ moniker. As outlaws go it’s a more subdued version of the species and retains much of the vintage charm of the 356 itself.
Some cars just kind of smack me in the face with their beauty. Porsche’s 356 Cabriolet almost always is one of those cars. They possess a beauty that is very hard to find in modern machinery, while also showcasing the charm of a vintage automobile. The 356 Coupe calls to mind much more the shape of the 911, if a slightly overweight version (though it’s not overweight at all). They have a somewhat bulbous look. However, chop the top and suddenly the 356 is transformed into a lithe and elegant automobile that promises to treat you to the best of open-top cruising. It’s no wonder that the 356 Speedster was so initially popular for its combination of open-top appeal with a pared-down structure best suited to weekend racers. The 356 Cabriolet brings with it the usual refinements that the Speedster did without, but we still get a fairly simple machine with graceful lines and, in this case, a beautiful and vibrant red paint. The example here comes from just toward the end of the model’s production: a 1965 Porsche 356SC Cabriolet, located in North Carolina, with a reported 63,020 miles on it.
Vintages Porsches always have a more limited appeal unless they are a particularly rare model, in which case the limitations become financial. The 356 does have its share of fans, but with the 911 remaining ever popular it tends to garner much of the attention. That is to be expected given the sheer iconic stature the 911 has developed over its 50 years of production, but I remain strangely attracted to the 356. They’re attractive cars that easily show their foundation as the 911’s predecessor. So even if they’ve be relegated behind the 911, the 356 remains the 911’s roots and for that it deserves plenty of appreciation. The example here comes from near the end of 356 production: a Silver 1964 Porsche 356SC, located in Maryland, with a magnificent Red interior and a reported 58,645 miles on it.
Let’s turn back the clock a bit to one of Porsche’s earliest attempts to meld track duty with everyday usability, matters that over time became hallmarks of the brand. The Speedster was developed during a time when two-seat open-top machines began to proliferate and became common occurrences on trackdays. These were cars that, in their own unique way, provided owners the ability to take their car to the track on Saturday and then to work on Monday. Creature comforts were limited, as with most track cars, but it was their mechanical simplicity – and relatively low cost – that made them worthwhile considerations for dual-purpose duty. As such, Porsche tried to emulate that model and the 356 Speedster featured side curtains rather than windows, a removable windscreen, a very basic manually-folding soft-top, and bucket seats fitted to an austere interior. While initially very popular interest in the Speedster waned and it was replaced by the Convertible D (later 356 Roadster) after only four years of production. With such low numbers extant the Speedster has become an icon of the brand and highly-prized among collectors. The example we see here comes from the earlier T1 design, a Ruby Red 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster, located in California.
The very rare and very head-turning 1955 Porsche 356 Pre-A 1500 Continental Cabriolet that we featured back in October has come back up for sale again as a reserve auction. This car was featured in a recent issue of Excellence Magazine so perhaps the seller hopes to capitalize upon that exposure in the search for a new owner of this lovely machine. This is, without question, the most striking 356 we’ve ever come across as well as a unique piece of Porsche history.
The below post originally appeared on our site October 31, 2014: