In April, 2017, a very rusty, non-running and incomplete 1962 VW Bus appeared on eBay and caused quite a stir. When the bidding ended, the sale number was $20,100 – all for a chassis number. Why so expensive? Because it was a ‘Samba’, in this case a 23 Window version. If the Golf Limited is the most highly prized of modern VWs, the 23 Window shares nearly universal appeal and, consequently, value. You see, unlike the super Golf, the Sambas most definitely aren’t unknown to the rest of the world, and for the last few years they’ve been trading for numbers that make their air-cooled brethren from Stuttgart jealous. They’re so unobtainable, in fact, that I generally ignore them. But when I saw today’s pristine example come across my search criteria, I had to take a closer look because of the outrageous asking price:
About a month ago I checked out a 1968 Mercedes-Benz 600 that is the crème de la crème when it comes to flagship Mercedes. It gets all the press, all the attention and rightfully so. But often overlooked is the predecessor of the 600, the 300d Adenauer. I’ve checked these cars out in the past and they don’t come up for sale to the public all that often thanks to their age and rarity. Personally, I think they are one of the coolest Mercedes ever made thanks to their distinctive style with the great waterfall grille and pillar-less profile. This is a car with presence. You don’t blend in with the pack with this car. When an Adenauer drives down the road, you see it coming. The best part about this car? It’s not as expensive as you would think.
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.
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. Beautiful condition in and out, includes matching factory hard top. Engine is a correct Super 1600, not the original case. Extensive receipts and records, including receipt rebuild 5000 miles ago. We rebuild the front end (all new bushings) and installed new tires. We go to extents to document our cars in pictures and provide the most transparent listings on Ebay. Please study the pictures carefully rather than requesting descriptions. Please complete any inspections or ask any questions prior to bidding or committing to buy the car. Thanks for the interest!
I do love the way this seller presents their cars. While there is no substitute for seeing something in person, here at least we are provided with pictures of almost every part of the vehicle and from just about every angle. We get a lot of the details, both underneath as well as inside. If we wanted to quibble, a little more thorough description might be useful, but the pictures do a fine job of telling the story. We are told that this 356 has been restored, the engine is correct rather than original, and that the current owner has had the car for at least the past twenty years. We also see a decent size stack of records.
Generally speaking this is a very fine looking 356 that looks well restored. Everything looks in great shape and ready for a new owner. It also comes with a matching factory hard top, which is a nice bonus though I can’t imagine anyone would spend much time driving this car in any other than pristine top down conditions. So you may never use the hard top, but it’s there if you want it. For top down cruising it’s hard to think of many things better than a vintage automobile and the 356 is a wonderful example of that breed.
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:
Year: 1961 Model: 356B 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. Stored in a climate controlled environment and to our knowledge, having loving owners, has not been in the rain since restoration. The car has a history of Concour’s or event wins including “Best Closed 356” , “Best Overall 356” and “First Place” wins both prior to and during more recent ownership . The engine bay metal and even the fuel tank have mirror black finishes.
As we develop our new store/service center, the car is on display at one of our interim Atlanta dealership locations showroom. Due to security this store is not open to the public outside of appointment. She of course gets far more attention than any of the exotics on display . . . regardless of make or price point.
Records and receipts include 1995 restoration documentation at considerable cost as well as a letter of Affidavit re complete restoration to include, but not limited to: Complete body restoration – to bare metal, All new: Rubber, Chrome, Full leather interior (advised made in Germany specifically for the car), original German Carpets, Complete mechanical restoration of Engine, Transmission, full brake and suspension. She’s exudes perfection right down to the decals on the shocks.
Documents also include maintenance records back to 90’s Restoration as well as over 22k in recent (time mandated) maintenance/services including a complete engine rebuild/reseal inclusive of Nikasil cylinders, new fuel lines/filters electronics and more as well as complete service of braking system, new wheel cylinders, master cylinder, suspension/sway bar bushings gaskets and more.
The carburetors mounted are currently Delort’e (maintenance free ) having custom spun aluminum plates fitted to mount OEM Knecht’s. While included are the original Solex carbs/Black OEM standard Knechts (Included with sale), owner(s) have maintained the current configuration as the car cranks instantly without the need of choke and the power and response is nothing short of perfection. Included in the Buy-it-now price is an additional set of OEM mesh Knechts (pics) which were reserved for concour’s use only.
Prior Owner(s) have addressed a few minor details during ownership. At considerable cost a near perfect original Blaupunkt Frankfurt E-Series Radio (1961) was secured, rebuilt with any needed tubes etc. It is fully functional. Additionally, there is also a very tasteful stealth mounted Nakamichi head unit in the glove-box with Infinity Premium speakers behind the early covers/grills. The removable audio system is powered by equipment trayed inside/under the passenger footboard which was professionally engineered/designed for this specific purpose. (This may be removed for shows / Concours events and sale includes the original fittings i.e. glove-box liner original footboard). The system is very impressive and can be reviewed by contacting the store accordingly. Other small touches include, Custom fit Coco Mats, luggage straps, inner windshield shift pattern decal, period correct valve caps etc. . .
Of course, while she resides in a climate controlled bay and rarely driven the basic maintenance has always been addressed bi-annually. G.E.A.R.S® typically runs Brad Penn Green Oil in early Porsche’s as it has the Zinc/ Phosphorus needed by these early engines. The oil/filter are, of course, new. Additionally, the wires/cap etc are always kept brand new for shows.
There are many extras as the icing on the cake for the new owner much of which is listed below. The tool kit is complete, pristine and is maintained sealed in plastic.
There are no issues with this rare 356. Yes, the engine bay is that clean. This being said, a couple of ground rules are merited here . . . please, our staff is not in need of a history lesson, directives re authenticity, someone to “market” her for us nor will the staff entertain car bashers. If you want to flip it to your “customer in Europe” then buy it and add your fee . . . please dont ask us to facilitate your profit margin nor draw up falsified documents to circumvent VAT/Taxes. Additionally, If you have “0”, unpaid buyer or no feedback please contact the store before buying. If you are an international customer we have solid relationships re shipping facilitation and the process will not only be safe it will be cost effective.
Car includes the following additional items only at the Buy-It-Now listed price.
• Both sets of wheels*:
5 ½” Wheels with Pirelli Tires mounted (Currently Mounted – As Pictured)
4 ½” Wheels with (then new) Kléber tires mounted (see images)
• Additional set Knecht Air Cleaners (period correct – with no upper return hose ports)
• Assortment of new small extra parts i.e. small rubber seals , amber/solid red (US/Euro) lenses etc
• Fitted High Quality Soft Car Cover
• Pristine Tool Kit, Towel and Tire Gauge
• Vintage Set of Marcal Period Correct Driving Lights and Brackets
• The Second Passenger Foot Board As Well As The Original Glove Liner For Concours
• Complete Records Since Bare Metal Restoration in 1995
• Affidavit Of Bare Metal Complete Restoration
• Porsche Certificate of Authenticity
• Recently Re-chromed Luggage Rack As Pictured Mounted In Indoor Both Photos
• Vintage Luggage Rack Belts As Well As Newer Aged “wide” Luggage Rack Straps
• All Keys / Cases / Books
• California Historic Plates 59’ With 61’ Decal
* The wheels currently mounted were custom made from early 5½” wheels, disassembled, chromed and welded back together in CA then matched to Perelli P3000’s (NOA-The store purchased several sets prior to discontinuance) which have always been one of our first choices for the driving application for 356’s.
Buy in confidence – Safe & Secure G.E.A.R.S® – German & Exotic Auto Remarketing Specialists® is a Licensed / Bonded Wholesale/Retail Exotic Dealer – An industry leader in Porsche, European and Exotic Remarketing.
Detailed High Resolution IMAGES, DETAILS of This Reserve Collection Listing Available
Shipping: G.E.A.R.S® provides prompt shipping / transportation solutions via several trusted vendors throughout the US and overseas. Solid relationships with these premier carriers insure our customer’s quality service at a excellent rate. Unlike many entities we ship units COD at “cost” and do not add surcharges to these rates.
Financing: G.E.A.R.S® has recently partnered with an investment group providing long term extended finance options for collectible European and or Exotic Cars. Please contact us for complete details.
Like with any 356 that lovely Heron Grey paint adorns the painted dash and provides an excellent contrast to the rest of the interior. At first glance, I thought the seating was black. Again, a fairly standard color. Looking further I realized that was incorrect: the leather is a dark green, specifically Jade. Combined with the painted dash and the tan carpets the whole interior is simply fantastic. An Ivory over Black 356 in nice shape would be a pretty car, but I don’t think I’d give it too much notice. Heron Grey over Jade. That’s something else entirely.
In addition, the condition looks phenomenal. Everything is clean and crisp with no apparent wear. The restoration must have been top notch and its care since restoration on an equally high level. The sellers haven’t provided us with the documentation to verify the originality of what we see, but a CoA is said to be available along with complete records since its restoration more than 20 years ago. The asking price is very high, there is no question about that. You can find plenty of 356 coupes for a lot less money. But those won’t be in this condition and the colors may not be as nice. I still don’t know if it will sell at this price, but I’m sure it will be worth whatever high price it does receive.
I’ve had my eye on this car for a while. Which, of course, means it has been for sale for a while. The reason for that is fairly straightforward: it is priced much too high. Also, the initial ad descriptor lists the car as a 356A, which is not exactly confidence inspiring since it is a 356B. The main ad text corrects this. Anyway, I’m featuring it now because it is now up for a reserve auction rather than simply sitting with its sky-high BIN price so we can at least get some sense of where it is being valued and that makes keeping an eye on it more interesting.
The car itself I love! It’s a 1961 Porsche 356B Super 90 Roadster, a model I particularly like and it wears one of my favorite early Porsche color combinations of Slate Grey over Red. It looks in great condition too!
Porsche offered the 356B Cabriolet as a high-end touring car with a thick-padded convertible top and expensive options such a leather seats and a Blaupunkt radio. In September of 1959 Porsche revealed their fully updated 356 known as the 356B. This had a completely revised body that was more suitable for the American market. The 356B used the new T5 bodystyle which raised the front and rear bumpers nearly four inches. Furthermore the headlights were also repositioned higher to meet American regulations. Inside Porsche fitted a new deep dish steering wheel and deeper front seats. New to the model was the Type 616/7 Super 90 engine which was an indirect replacement for the Carrera de Luxe models. The engine was fully revised with a new intake manifold, a larger Solex 40 PII-4 carburetor and the Carrera air filters. Other detail changes included 9.0:1 pistons, stronger valve springs, a different crankshaft with 55mm main bearings. Please feel free to call us for more information on this unique automobile! 212.594.7373
The 356 Roadster was the successor to the highly sought after and initially very successful 356 Speedster. The Speedster, as we’re all mostly familiar, was intended to serve that idyllic dual purpose of weekday transport and weekend racer. It was spartan and featured a removable windshield allowing its respective lives though with certain compromises to comfort and utility. The Convertible D, which was then followed by the Roadster, helped mitigate the loss of those creature comforts by using a fixed windshield, a bit more functional top, and some basic comforts inside such as a more standard set of bucket seats. It remains a 2-seater though and the Roadster still looks fantastic.
Most all examples of the Porsche 356 are beautiful vintage cars, but the various open-top variants always have been the most eye catching. While the Speedster remains the most unique, the Roadster is my favorite. While I don’t expect bidding to come close to reaching the BIN price of this one, we’ll see just how high it manages to go.
I’m not going to pretend to be intimately familiar with the Porsche hot rod culture of California, especially as it relates to the 356 since that’s well before my time, but we’ve come across a few of these cars over the years and this one seems to be by far the best one I’ve seen. The general look of the various modifications seems near perfect for the genre and the overall condition is fantastic. Slate Grey over Red makes for just the right color combination for such a car. Even though most any 356 probably would not truly be considered quick by today’s standards, I can imagine this one would be a hoot to drive. Perhaps even better: it is up for auction with no reserve so someone is taking this home!
356 Concour Dana Point Class Winner
356 Club Magazine Cover Car
75886 Original Miles
(since factory delivery)
30000 Since Restoration 20 Years Ago
10,000 Since D&I Refreshen
VIN # 115128
Southern CA YELLOW PLATE’s
Charcoal Square Weave
Factory Style Round Headrests
Period Correct Nardi Mushroom Steering Wheel
Red 4-Point Racing Style Seat Belts
Fully Removable Custom Made Roll Bar
(still uses factory interior and back seat unlike factory roll bar)
1904cc 912 bored to 90.5mm
Completely Rebuild w/ NeuTek Cam
Full Flow Oil Filter
External Oil Cooler
Crankcase Breather System
Internally Modified Stock Muffler
w/Twin 912 Chrome Tips
Aux Electric Fuel Pump
Modified 4-Speed Transmission
w/ taller 2nd, 3rd & 4th
Weltmeister Front Sway Bar
Vic Skimants’ Camber Regulator Rear
Factory Alloy Drum Brakes
w/ Ferodo Shoes
GT Style Through-Hood Fuel Filler
Shaved Hood Handle
Rear Bumper Side Depressions
Engine Lid Louvers
Chrome Nerf Bar Bumpers
Hella 128 Fog Lamps
Wire Headlight Screens
Fender Mounted Spun Aluminum Talbot GT Junior Mirrors
Pre-A Style “Shine Down” License Plate Light
w/ Third Brake Light
American Racing Empi 5-Spoke Style Wheels
Bridgestone Potenza 195/65/15 Tires
There are roughly 175 pictures that load below the text of this write-up. If you have an older computer or a slow speed connection to the internet it may take up to five minute for all the photos to load to your screen. If they do not appear you may simply cut and paste or click on this link to go directly to my Photobucket account where the pictures are hosted in rather large format, so you can blow them up as large as your screen can accommodate. The link is here:
I grew up on the East Coast and was a Corvette guy most of my life, well I still own a 1957 & a 1964. Fortunately for me I met a guy when I first moved to San Clemente nearly 30 years ago named Jack Staggs… YES … THAT JACK STAGGS!!! The legendary and one and only…
Jack helped me refine my skills in car collecting by getting me hooked on 356’s, to which I now own two. He has the most discriminating taste in anything 356 and his personal touch is all over this little Gray Road Rocket he put together for another one of his many long-time “friends” in the 356 World. They have been on lots of Rally’s together and had a wonderful companion in this fine specimen.
If you don’t know Jack and you don’t believe me just refer to this April 2017 Road & Track Magazine Article about Jack and his trusty sidekick Kerry Sink in their home office at the Beach in San Clemente, CA… where Jack has been holed up for 45 years!!! Working on ONE type of car… 356
Jack was kind enough to put together this narrative on this special rally car, so here we go.
Porsche 356 # 115128
“My name Is Jack Staggs. I operate a small shop in San Clemente where we have been for 45 years. 95% of the work we do is on 356, with a client base of appox 200 cars.
This car is a 1961 T5 coupe, my favorite for outlaw/old speed modifications, consisting of a delightful combination of early and later features, both in appearance, and mechanical advances.
The colors are Slate Grey exterior, with a red interior, a fairly rare combination, quite striking but subtle and racy at the same time. The paint and body work was done to a high standard 20 years ago, and still looks fantastic. The panel gaps are very good and the body is super straight everywhere, with no dings or scrapes. Any needed rust repairs on the undercarriage was done at the same time, again to a high standard.
Exterior appearance modifications include a “GT” style through the hood fuel filler, shaved hood handle, deco strips, and rear bumper side depressions, engine lid louvers, chrome old school nerf bars, Hella 128 fog lamps, driving lights, wire headlight screens, fender mounted spun aluminum Talbot GT junior mirrors with convex lenses, PreA style “shine down” license plate light with third brake light, California yellow plates with correct 1961 sticker, riding on nearly new Bridgestone Potenza 195/65/15 tires fitted to aluminum wheels in the American Racing/Empi 5 spoke style.
The engine is based on a 912 unit which has been bored out to 90.5mm, giving 1904cc, a NeuTek cam, full flow oil filter and external oil cooler, crankcase breather system, internally modified stock muffler with twin 912 chrome tips exiting through the factory body cut outs, auxiliary electric fuel pump, and more.
Up front, an oversize Weltmeister sway bar takes the place of the smaller original part, and the rear features Vic Skimants’ camber regulator. Brakes are factory alloy drums, front and rear, with Ferodo shoes that are showing some wear, but still plenty of life left.
The beautiful red vinyl interior shows no wear, as well as the square weave charcoal carpeting, and headliner. Stock front seats have factory style round headrests (driver side was off during pictures and will be back on before delivery). Red 4 point racing type seat belts keep you securely in place. A fully removable custom made roll bar is installed, giving better headroom and rear visibility than a factory bar. An added benefit to this roll bar is that it allowed a completely stock interior to be used, including rear jump seats, a feature that the factory bar does not have. The dash has not been altered, drilled or cut to accommodate any of the needed switches to operate the added front lamps, fuel pump or intermittent windshield wipers. These items have been added under the dash to allow easy removal, if so desired, without visible damage. The only modification here is that the radio hole has been expertly filled and painted in slate grey at the same time the entire dash was painted, so if a radio, gauges, switches, etc, were desired there, cutting of the needed openings can be done without paint work. A factory radio delete plate currently resides there, and speaker holes have not been cut in the carpet, although an antennae is installed in the factory location outside. Other modifications include an electric SC tach (6k red line) in place of the original cable driven tach, and a period correct Nardi “mushroom” steering wheel, (unrestored).
The transmission has had changes as well. A taller 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gears, purchased from Carquip, have been installed. Careful attention was made to allow wider splits to the lower gears, and closer ratios in the higher, where torque drops off. This arrangement allows speeds at 6k engine rpm of 55mph in 2nd, 95mph in 3rd and speeds of 135 in 4th, if you dare! I personally have driven this car well over 120 mph indicated (speedo markings end at 120mph). If you think that this car may be too high strung, you are mistaken. The great low end torque of the engine allows easy “old man” cruising around town and short shifting at freeway speeds. You would have to drive it to believe it. It behaves like a completely stock car. I’m not kidding.
Every thing works on this car… heaters, door locks, interior lights, etc. Electrical system has been converted to 12 volts.
All of these mods/paint/upholstery were done 20 years ago. When the build of this car was finished, Mike C. (the owner) and I drove it the same day to Nevada to participate in the “Silver State Classic Challenge” a 100 mile section of public highway that is closed to traffic for this event. We broke out of our class, averaging 97+mph over the 100 mile course. Shortly after that, Mike entered it in the prestigious Dana Point 356 Concourse, taking first place in his class, and the car was featured on the cover of the 356 Club magazine (magazine cover picture at the end of the photo section). Since then, Mike has run it in the Snowball rally (2010), and the Targa California (2011), as well as numerous road trips, including the 356 Registry holiday in Sedona Az., events in Cambria, Ca., Monterey, Ca., etc. In the 20 years of ownership, he has driven the car appox 30k miles, with less than 10,000 on general engine d&i/freshen up.
The car is currently fully serviced and detailed, requiring nothing more than buckling up, turning the key, and having fun. This car is a fabulous example of Porsche Werks, meets Southern California hot rod car culture in every sense of the word. It would be impossible to re-create this car for 100k, even if you got a complete car for free.
This car has not been offered on the open market.
The car is available for inspection and test drive just about any time you would like.
This is an extremely well sorted and gorgeous example of the 356B, modified to perfection by one of the hobbies best builders. I judge all types of cars at Concour Events and also do inspections and appraisals. This car to me is a strong 2+ vehicle. Show quality but obviously been driven, however maintained to perfection mechanically foremost with outstanding cosmetic care.
The body is nearly perfect from my perspective and does not look like a car that has ever been damaged beyond maybe a bump here or there, although I surely see no evidence of such. Whatever work was done was done by skilled craftsmen.
The paint was done years ago and was obviously very high-dollar as it still looks like it was painted yesterday. Glasurit was surely used. The color match and smooth mirror finish matches from panel to panel all the way around the car. Some small chips on the nose were touched up with the original matching paint.
The walk-around video I did was in very direct light and looks totally washed out… so look to the pictures for the content of color uniformity. Again, lighting conditions changed as I was shooting pictures, but I think you will get it.
The undercarriage appears near totally original to me and would be surprised if this car indeed had ever been anywhere but Southern California, but we do not know its entire history so we can only speculate. When we were shooting pictures on the rack we cleaned the area with a spray bottle of water and some areas were not completely dry when we snapped away, so be aware of that.
The Interior is in magnificent condition and has some of the richest vinyl I have seen in decades. I had to smell it to be sure it wasn’t leather. The square weave is not worn and looks fresh, as well the rubber mats, headliner and door panels. All rubber is new to the car when restored.
To drive this car is simply a BLAST. Other than a Carrera from this period I drove once, this is the finest running 356 I have ever driven.
I would likely get in this car and absolutely take on the adventure of driving across this land from coast to coast if I had the opportunity to do so. The quality of Jacks work is beyond reproach. The way this engine revs and the way the car handles is way beyond that of my C Coupe. It is a phenomenal car to look at and drive.
Jack is extremely busy working on more cars than his shop can hold. He is one of the hardest working people I know and sometimes a little difficult to get a hold of when he has a wrench in his hand.
I would request that serious buyers call me about the car, unless of course you already know Jack and have his number. I will be happy to pass on Jacks number to people that want to speak with him, but would like to be somewhat selective in the process.
I can be reached at 949-310-6262. My name is Frank. I am available from 7AM-11PM seven days a week.
356. For millions of people in the world, just a number. For some, however, it is the numerical code for a phenomenon that defies technical description. To put it another way: for them, it is the legend of the Porsche 356.
The ad pretty much tells us just about everything we’d need to know about this 356 apart from sitting behind the wheel and getting a feel for the thing itself. The text is a mix of details from the seller and details from a well known 356 specialist who is familiar with this 356. There really isn’t much for me to say in addition. There are a ton of pictures and a ton of words, we really can’t ask for too much more when viewing any car for sale from a distance.
At the moment bidding sits at $45,433. Relative to the work put in and the condition of this 356 that seems like a very nice price. You’d certainly be hard pressed to ever replicate this car for the same money – at least without already owning a 356 upon which to begin your creation. I typically feature the 356 because of its vintage beauty and simplicity. This one is something much, much, more.
If you’ll pardon the strange introduction, this is not the car I was originally going to feature. I was going to feature one of my favorite color combinations on any Porsche (though we typically only see it on the 356): Slate Grey over a Red interior. That listing was removed so it was time to find something else. But it made me search for another Roadster and while this one isn’t quite as awesome of a combination, damn does it look good. Here we have a restored Ivory 1961 Porsche 356B 1600 Roadster again with a Red interior. These colors possess a pretty stark contrast with one another, but work quite well. And there are so many little hand wrought details on these cars that we can pore over for hours. When such details find themselves on the lines of the 356 Roadster then the appeal jumps up all the more. The Roadster was Porsche’s replacement for the Convertible D, which in turn had replaced the Speedster as the pared down version of the 356 Cabriolet. The Speedster it seems was a little too spartan, especially with regard to the windshield, so the Convertible D and Roadster added a little back to the car. Though by modern standards any 356 still remains very spartan.
The world of Auto Union is full of paradox. That the company even came into existence is itself somewhat of a fluke, but a harsh economic situation in Germany in the 1930s led four mostly failing companies to band together in the hope that united, they might survive. Out of that union was born the image of the four rings that today are worn proudly by the last remnant, and the least successful, of the original four – Audi. If that isn’t strange, the history of how we got to that point certainly is. Only one of the companies was truly successful when they banded together, and they produced primarily motorcycles, not cars. Yet only one year after being founded, the fledgling company put its technical prowess up against the might of the most storied car company in the world – indeed, the inventors of the automobile – Daimler-Benz. And by “its” technical prowess, I mean the technical prowess of one Ferdinand Porsche, himself an outcast of sorts from several car companies. His design was both unorthodox and unusual, with a single-cam supercharged 16 cylinder engine mounted in the middle of the car. Mind you, this was a full 25 years before Cooper would make the “revolutionary” change that would be the accepted practice of all modern Formula One cars. With entirely new suspension designs and strange handling behaviors – never mind enough torque to jump start an industrial production line and tires that would consequently disintegrate immediately or fuel that was really just a high explosive in liquid form – the Auto Union Grand Prix cars shared nothing in common with the road-going models marketed by the company, who at the start of the 1930s didn’t even produce what could loosely be identified as a sports car.
Yet, it worked.
Auto Union may numerically have not won as many races as Mercedes-Benz did over the same period, but they established themselves on the same level – no small feat, considering the company. They won races, championships and set records and were primed with new luxury, smart economy and even sports vehicles to capitalize on their great success at the race track and in the record books. And then, World War II broke out, and as fate would have it Auto Union’s primary headquarters were in Saxony. For those of you who aren’t particularly fond of maps, Saxony happens to be exactly where the Russians ended up advancing into in 1945. Mired in what would become East Germany, there didn’t appear to be much hope for Auto Union and it seemed they were relegated to the history books. But in 1949 the company was relaunched, now based in Ingolstadt – not far from its old rivals. The brand that had previously been the bread and butter of Auto Union’s sales – DKW – would carry the four rings and continue to make economy cars, but little else remained from the former glory of Auto Union. Indeed, even DKW itself was full of contradictions; the name derived from “Steam Powered Car” in German (Dampf-Kraft Wagen), yet the company hadn’t produced a steam car since the late teens. Their current lineup continued the strange trend with oxymoronic names like “3=6”. Math not being their strong suit, DKW alternatively called the car F900, F91, and finally “Sonderklasse”, though there was no longer a non-Sonder model. The underpinnings would make Swedes smile, with a two-stroke inline-3 powering the front wheels. And from these modest bones the only officially badged “Auto Union” was created – the 1000SP. With a bit more power and styling borrowed from an American classic, it was a special car:
Sometimes there is that one possession that we wind up hanging on to for years, whether it is for sentimental value, material value or perhaps it is just plain cool. For me, I have a vintage watch that I have prized for years and look after. On a much larger scale, the same thing seems to be true with the former owner of this 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300SL, who kept the car for the last 42 years. This was a car that helped propel Mercedes into the spotlight with luxury car buyers stateside, as the Gullwing and later Roadster variant we see here were cars flaunted by the rich and famous. With matching numbers and documentation dating back to when it was purchased, this will surely be a prize in any collection.
Vintage cars will never appeal to everyone, but for those who yearn for the styling or the relatively minimalist nature of a vintage automobile there can be no substitute. For Porsche enthusiasts that almost always means finding a 356. One of the aspects I appreciate most about the 356 is the way in which it provides such a clear lineage to the 911 that we see today. The basic shape and underlying architecture of the 911 can be seen even in these cars produced more than 50 years ago and that is a rare trait amongst vintage cars. For the most thorough display of those design elements prospective buyers need look no further than a 356 Coupe like the one seen here. A fully-restored 1961 Porsche 356B Super 90 Coupe located in California.
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