1953 Porsche 356 Pre-A Cabriolet

I’m pretty sure this will be the oldest car I’ve featured. And I don’t imagine I’ll happen across any that are much older given how rarely a Porsche of this age even pops up. I’ve written before about how much I enjoy the 356 for its simple and elegant lines, the vintage charm of the painted dash, and the nostalgia of having a chance to experience such an early icon. Here, with this Azure Blue 1953 Porsche 356 Cabriolet, I’m going back even to the early days of this very early model. While there are mechanical differences between this “Pre-A” 356 and its successors, the basic blueprint of the model is there and the elegant lines remain. With its Telefunken radio the interior takes on an even greater level of vintage charm and the quad round tailights at the rear give a very clean look. As with most any 356 a Cabriolet in a lovely color like this really brings out the best in the design and it exudes grace.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1953 Porsche 356 Pre-A Cabriolet on eBay

Year: 1953
Model: 356 Cabriolet
Engine: 1.5 liter flat-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 381 mi
Price: $425,000 Buy It Now

1953 Porsche 356/1500 ‘Bent Window’ Cabriolet

Chassis No: 60115

$425,000.00 OBO

– Rare “Pre-A” example – in most desirable open-air form

– Solid example benefiting from expert restoration

– Well-equipped, including restored and working ‘Telefunken’ radio

– Options and numbers verified by Porsche Certificate of Authenticity

– Stunning color combination

1,488 cc air-cooled, horizontally-opposed OHV four-cylinder engine, 64 HP at 4,400 rpm (SAE)/55 HP at 4,400 rpm (DIN), four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with parallel trailing arms and laminated torsion bars, independent rear suspension with swing axles and transverse torsion bars, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 82.7”

Rooted in humble origins as the “two-seater Volkswagen sport” project on June 11, 1947, from a converted sawmill in Gmünd, Austria, Porsche’s sporting dynasty soon took physical form with the emergence of the sleek 356 “No. 1” roadster. Production and acceptance of the new sports car came quickly, with sales propelled by the diminutive Porsche’s growing victory tally on the track, including the remarkable 20th overall finish and S1.1 class win scored by Veuillet/Mouche with the #46 “works” entry at Le Mans in 1951. In testament to the upstart Porsche’s stunning prowess, it finished the race just two places behind the mighty Hemi-powered Cunningham C2-R driven by John Fitch and Phil Waters.

On the road-car front, Porsche’s work with Reutter Karosserie added a number of welcome refinements to the 356 that began to appear on the 1952 model-year cars from March. Among them, the production process was simplified and streamlined. A one-piece, bent windscreen and more substantial bumpers appealed to the important American export market, and ventilated disc-type wheels with optional trim rings typified Porsche’s export models. Fully integrated front and rear aprons extended below the rear bumpers, interiors included a new 6,000-rpm tachometer, and detail changes heightened the overall driving experience.

Engine development also proceeded at a rapid clip with the debut of the new 1500-cc unit for 1952 developing 60 horsepower at 5,000 engine revolutions. Utilizing the Hirth roller-bearing crankshaft design, it was a mainstay of the 356 and the most popular power choice until the debut of the 356A for 1956. A higher-output, race-ready derivation, internally designated Type 528, used a new crankshaft, greater valve lift from an Ernst Fuhrmann-designed camshaft, and higher compression. Known as the ‘1500S,’ this 70-HP unit powered Porsche’s aluminum Gmund coupes at the 1952 Mille Miglia. Through it all, the 356 formed the basis for Porsche’s growing confidence and strength during the early 1950s and beyond, with both the car and company earning a well-deserved and formidable reputation for performance and quality that continues unchanged today.

Numbered 60115, this “Pre-A” 1953 Porsche 356/1500 Reutter Cabriolet was owned by the noted Beck family of Beck Spyder lore. It was in their Arizona care for some 35 years before being acquired in complete and correct condition as an excellent candidate for restoration. It is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity from Porsche, listing original data, including its June 5, 1953, production completion date. Factory-original features and options include a Telefunken radio, which is restored and works, a retractable radio antenna, Comfort seats, windshield washer system and ‘Hella’ horn. This very desirable 1500-powered, early Reutter Cabriolet clearly benefits from a fresh, concours-level restoration. To restore this very special Porsche, experts from the Tulsa, Oklahoma area for the job. The gorgeous Azure Blue paint and body work were performed by Straight Line Restorations, American Upholstery re-trimmed the factory correct gray interior, and Huber Restorations expertly handled final mechanical sorting and detailing.

Remaining true to its factory-original specifications, the Porsche is further complete with its original date-coded wheels, “Turbine-style” trim rings, and steering wheel, which is nicely restored in keeping with the rest of the car. The ‘1500’ engine was rebuilt by the noted Porsche “Pre-A” engine specialist Geary Miller of New York with improved internal components for enhanced durability.” Only an approximate 100 test miles have been covered since the Cabriolet’s restoration was finished. A very nice example with a top-quality restoration, this “Pre-A” 1953 Porsche 356/1500 Reutter Cabriolet is highly collectible, enjoyable, and certainly one of the finest available today. The engine case is not numbers matching but it is date period correct.

I won’t say too much about the asking price because frankly I’m not nearly well versed enough to know the market for an early 356 such as this. I can venture over to Hagerty and tell you that the price is very high, but well restored examples – and this one does look fantastic – can garner significant premiums given their age. But really it’s because the devil is in the details and there may be flaws here that I won’t recognize. Or it may be perfect. I’m just happy to come across it and be able to take the time to look over one of Porsche’s earliest models. To see where many of the ideas began. The genesis of the 911 is here, we can see the roots clearly, and here we can also see the details that went into the 356’s own evolution. A wonderful looking car.

NB: The pictures on eBay are displayed in the wrong aspect ratio so everything looks a little squished. At the seller’s website you can find the correctly presented pictures. The car looks much better.


1953 Mercedes-Benz 170DS

By the mid 1950s, industrialized nations had made good strides towards reorganizing civilian manufacturing in the aftermath of World War II. This was also the time at which new automobiles started appearing on the scene. The 1955 Chevrolet, Ford Thunderbird and Hemi powered Chryslers were vehicles consumers were eager to clamor up. Over in Europe, things got off to a slower start naturally, but in an amazing twist of fast, Mercedes-Benz began producing new models at this time.

By the time 1953 rolled around, the 170 was on its last legs, as this was the year the W120, or Ponton as it is affectionately known, was introduced. However, this was the car that kept Mercedes alive in the aftermath of devastating destruction. These cars were used in rather austere trim during the war, but post conflict, gained a bit of luxury about them, as we see here with this DS model for sale in Wyoming.


Year: 1953
Model: 170DS
Engine: 1.7 liter inline four diesel
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 80,000 miles
Price: $35,000 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1953 Mercedes-Benz 170DS on eBay

Mercedes Benz made this model from 1936 to 1955 as it was the only body style they had after WWII. This particular model, 170DS was made in 1952 and 1953. The D is for diesel and the “S” was to indicate the leather and luxury trim which includes the beautiful wood on the dash, windows and doors. All the wood is beautiful, no cracks or peels and it shines like new.

This car was owned for years by the owner of an automobile restoration business that specialized in interiors for Mercedes, Rolls, Bentley and other high end cars. This was his personal pet and was taken to shows and used be Mercedes for special events. You will not find a nicer one, I know because I looked for 30 years before I discovered this in the owners estate. Along with the car came numerous service manuals, and even the original owners manual.

It is time for a new enthuseit to enjoy my rare find. It is truely an amazing car, BUT slow!! Perhaps 55-60 MPH although the book says 71. (I am at 6000 ft. so at sea level 70 is possible). My phone is available for questions, but being 80, I nap in the afternoon and go to bed early at night! 307 7334791 Charlie

Outside of car shows and museums, you won’t see many of these early post war Benzes these days. With the diesel engine, this car is an exercise in patience as you will have to anticipate your moves on the road way in advance given the power constraints. A 170 with the petrol engine of this vintage may run you around $25,000 to $30,000 in good condition. I tend to doubt the diesel engine would constitute a higher value, unless you are in it for the novelty factor given that these were early on in the technology.


1953 Volkswagen Type 2 Panel Van

Designed to be a commercial compliment to the original Beetle, the Volkswagen Type 2 was about as utilitarian as it gets this side of a farm implement. Even to this day, a variation of the original is still in production to this day in Brazil. Surfers, hippies and artists have all had their way with these vans, employing them as a sort of mobile canvas. Interesting results have come about, ranging from the low riding Cal look to vans modified for off-road use. This early barndoor T2 for sale in North Carolina looks fairly subtle at first, but dig deeper and a few surprises lurk beneath.


Year: 1953
Model: Type 2 Panel Van
Engine: 1.2 liter supercharged flat four
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 9,305(?) miles
Price: $50,000

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1953 Volkswagen Type 2 Panel Van on eBay


1953 Barndoor Panel, lowered, 36hp Judson November 17, 1953 Type 2 Panelvan Barndoor, delivered to Post, Darmstadt/Germany. Restored to original condition except for being lowered and upgraded 36hp engine w Judson Supercharger. Interior in great, restored condition with original dash pod and keys. Grey seat covers, grey kick panels. Original metal everywhere except under battery. Never nose damage. Original pans, side panels, etc. Safari windows with latching! 36hp engine with Judson Supercharger runs strong. Lowered front and rear suspension. Original front and rear bumpers. Kog hubcaps. All original hard to find parts there. A restored, great driving and looking 1953 barndoor. Fuel tank just recoated and repainted. Fuel lines replaced. New pictures added. Body in great condition with a few paint imperfections. Most notable are a chip on lower driver door and crack along seem on driver door. If I respray the driver door, it will cost more next time I sell.

**Note: the bus is lowered. Non-stock. I am not interested in raising it up for you. Sold as is. It runs and drives great.

**Car is located in North Carolina. Moved out of CA a year or so ago. I have plenty more pictures if really interested. Selling locally also, have the right to end auction early. Contact me with any questions.


This van is really sharp. The stance, color and supercharger add up to one seriously cool collectable. It’s also an interesting subject as these panel vans are less common than their passenger oriented counterparts, especially when restored like this. This is one of those vehicles that could appeal to a variety of enthusiasts, from those looking for a simple camping vehicle to a small business owner who doesn’t need a lot of power for hauling but needs something sensibly sized for getting around town.

Volkswagen vans have been trending upward in value over the last few years, whether it be an early T2 or a later Vanagon Syncro. Back in 2011, a 1963 T2 Bus fetched over $200,000 at auction. While this T2 has some interesting period pieces, including that Judson supercharger, this one is priced more realistic but still pricey for what was once a vehicle for the masses. Like the Warhol and the Campbell’s Soup can, it’s amazing what can become icons of all things cool.


1953 Porsche 356 Pre-A Sunroof Coupe

The first Porsches were built in a small mill in Gmünd, Austria shortly after World War II. Ferry Porsche, son of Ferdinand Porsche, had been in charge of the small company while his father was imprisoned for war crimes. Upon his father’s release, a new factory was built across the street from the Reutter Karosserie in Stuttgart, Germany.

The first Porsche 356s started trickling over here to the United States in the early 1950s thanks to importer Max Hoffman, who was also responsible for bringing iconic cars such as the Volkswagen Beetle and Mercedes-Benz 300SL to these shores. These Porsches garnered praise among a handful of enthusiasts who were enamored with its performance and build quality. These cars set the stage for the introduction of the 911 in 1964 along with a succession of racing and sales victories along the way.

Here is a very early Pre-A 356 for sale in New York City.

1953 Porsche 356 on eBay

1953 Porsche 356 Pre-A Sunroof Coupe

Matching Numbers, Certificate of Authenticity, Rare Golde Sunroof, Fresh Restoration by World Renowned Porsche Expert

This 1953 Porsche Pre-A 356 Bent Window Sunroof Coupe is Black with Green leather interior. This is a very rare car and an excellent example of its kind. It retains its original engine and is painted in the original color of Black. What distinguishes this car from similar Pre-A coupes is its rare Golde Sunroof. The car comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from Porsche confirming the original color and matching numbers. The car is extremely well detailed, having just received a complete high-level restoration. This included a painstaking engine rebuild by a world renowned Porsche expert. The car has less than 550 miles on it since the engine was rebuilt.

We sold the car to a client almost immediately after we purchased it and just recently got it back. Our client invested another $15,000 carrying out small upgrades and getting the car to his extremely exacting standards. He only put 500 miles on the car. He had a new Alpine radio and iPod adapter professionally installed. It is easily removable without any effect on the car should the new owner not care for it. The car was also fitted with a 6 volt battery tender adapter for ease of use.

Being the first iteration of the 356 series, one of the earliest and most important sports car designs to emerge after World War Two, this car embodies an important moment in automotive history. With early 356s becoming increasingly expensive and hard to find, this is a good time to buy this important and beautiful piece of Porsche history. The rarity and high quality restoration of this example guarantees that it will always be highly valued and as such is an excellent investment.

These early 356s don’t come up for sale very often and when they do, they surely are not cheap. For those Porsche enthusiasts looking for an example of where it all began, it doesn’t get much better than this.