1954 Porsche 356 1300 S CabrioletSOLD
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Estimate: 55,000£-70,000£
Estimate: €80,000 - €100,000
Estimate: $110,000 - $138,000

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of £61.463

From the Italian Collector Sig. Giuseppe Prevosti

60bhp, 1,286cc horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension, and
four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 82.7in. (2,100mm).

Dr Ferdinand Porsche earned the respect of the automotive elite by developing a series of masterpieces, from the Austro-Daimler to the Mercedes-Benz Type ‘S’, and ultimately the superb Silver Arrows. Considered one of Europe’s best automotive engineers, his pre-war efforts once again caught the world’s attention and steered Porsche AG into a promising new direction. Dr Porsche had adapted his faith in rear-engine technology to his company’s first production sports car, the 356. Under the leadership of his son Ferry, the 356 enjoyed a successful production run from 1950 through 1965.

Initially, production relied heavily on Volkswagen components. Unibody construction was paired with four-cylinder, horizontally opposed engines to produce a light, relatively quick, and tremendously enjoyable sports car. The car’s evolution was swift, impelled not only by Porsche’s drive for technical improvement but also by the realities of commercial success. Sales outstripped even the company’s most optimistic sales forecasts and allowed for early expansion of the model range.

The cabriolet therefore arrived one year after the coupé and was equally successful, particularly in the American market, where importer Max Hoffman pushed for the creation of a more affordable and decidedly sporty Speedster model. By 1951, the 356 was available with 1,086, 1,286, or 1,488cc engines. The 1.3-litre, 44-horsepower variant was capable of 90 mph top speeds but still used Volkswagen’s non-synchromesh transmission. This issue was alleviated by 1952 with the arrival of an original Porsche unit using synchronizing split rings. For added performance, a 1300 Super model was offered late in 1953. A compression ratio of 8.2:1 and 60 brake horsepower made the 1300S a considerably stronger performer than the base 1.3-litre 356.

After 1953 only 1.5-litre examples were available in America as Max Hoffman believed the smaller variants would be unsatisfactory for American drivers. As more than half of all 356s were produced for the American market, a 1300S Cabriolet remains a relatively rare find. Regardless of engine displacement, however, the 356 Cabriolets were among the most expensive early Porsches available; unlike the more affordable Speedster, the Cabriolet had a Cadillac-level price tag of over $4,500.

The Porsche 356 Cabriolet offered here was originally ordered in ivory and is one of just 394 cabriolets built in 1954. As it was outfitted with the popular 1300S motor, the car was probably not ordered for US delivery. It nevertheless wound up in California in the collection of John J. Lormon who sold it in 1988 before its exportation to Italy, where it remains to this day. Signor Prevosti purchased the car from Giancarlo Cattaneo in 1990.

From its proper ivory paint to the large split-windscreen, the car appears to very much period correct. The interior is upholstered in red leather while the dash and steering wheel match the exterior colour. A period-correct radio and optional tachometer are also fitted. The engine bay likewise appears to be proper in virtually every regard and remains clean and well detailed.

Alongside the famed 911, the 356 is an icon of popular culture in its own right, and is responsible in part for the present-day love affair with Porsche engineering. The example offered here predates the later 356A to 356C variants and therefore retains the smooth lines of the original Porsche concept. As one of the most enjoyable sports cars of the 1950s, this 356 Cabriolet’s desirability is augmented by its sporty 1300S engine and remarkable overall quality.

Reference Number 13190

as of 9/14/2007

Car 1954 Porsche 356 1300 S Cabriolet
VIN 60658 
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