• 1961 Porsche 356 B Roadster
• Body built by Karrosseriewerke Drauz KG
• Less than 2500km since a full restoration by CPR Classic in California
• Finished in its original colour of Condor Yellow with black interior
This immaculate 1961 Porsche 356 B Roadster was ordered new through Pon’s Automobielhandel in the Netherlands and sold to Mr Roger M. Gibson resident in Amsterdam. In 2008, the decision was taken by its then owner, Mr P Van Shevensteen of Belgium to give the Porsche a full restoration. The work was entrusted to CPR Classic in Fallbrook, California.
This renowned company specialises in the 356 and early 911, and it stripped the car all the way down to bare metal. No expense was spared during the rebuild, and the patriotic Belgian owner decided to have the Porsche resprayed in the period shade of Condor Yellow – the national racing colour of Belgian being yellow.
The two-year restoration was completed in 2010, and shortly afterwards the 356 passed to the owner’s son having covered only 600 kilometres. After being acquired by a new owner in 2011, the car was used sparingly and he added only another 1500 kilometres or so to its total.
In 2012, the car was imported into the UK through Hexagon of Highgate. It then changed ownership a couple more time before being acquired by the current owner.
The Roadster model can be considered as a direct evolution of the Speedster, which had proved popular on the US West Coast but lacked the creature comforts to do well in Europe. The intention with the Roadster was to produce a model that was a blend of touring car and out-and-out sports car.
It therefore offers a less compromised driving experience than the Speedster thanks to its larger windscreen, more comfortable seats, door pockets and wind-up windows instead of the previous side curtains. The result is an extremely usable open-top Porsche 356 that is still as stylish as ever.
Now being offered for sale by the Classic Motor Hub, this attractive example is presented in superb condition throughout, with an unmarked black and grey interior. It features a black mohair soft-top and tonneau cover, and has been given the UK registration 809 UYF.
Designed by Ferry Porsche – son of company founder Ferdinand – the 356 was launched in 1948 and was the car that laid the foundation for Porsche’s enduring success.
At that time, the company was still based in the Austrian town of Gmünd, but by 1950 it had moved back to Germany and the Stuttgart borough of Zuffenhausen, while steel bodywork replaced the aluminium that had been used on the earliest 356s. Porsche’s reputation grew rapidly thereafter, thanks largely to its competition success, and it became a popular choice for young racers in the all-important North American market.
The basic outline of the 356 remained intact throughout its production run, but there were numerous updates along the way. The capacity of the rear-mounted, air-cooled, flat-four engine was originally 1100cc, but 1300cc and 1500cc variants were soon added. In 1955, the 356 A was introduced with its updated T1 body, and this model also gained the option of a 1600cc engine – plus the high-performance four-cam Carrera unit.
In 1958, Porsche did a deal with Karosseriewerke Drauz KG – which was based in Heilbronn, just north of Stuttgart – to build its new Convertible D and Roadster. Offered with the 1600 and 1600 S engines, but not in Carrera spec, this model could be ordered in red, blue, ivory or silver. Prices in the American market started at $2774.
The 356 B was introduced in 1960 with a new T5 body style and the Convertible D was eventually replaced by the d’Ieteren-built Roadster. The 1600cc engine was available across all body styles – Coupé, Cabriolet and Roadster – and with various power outputs. The 356 B gained the latest T6 body in 1962, and the final incarnation of this famous model was the 1964 356 C. In that same year, Porsche introduced the six-cylinder 911 and production of the 356 came to an end in 1965.