General description :
1959 Porsche 356A Convertible D
s/n 85876, engine stamped 68233
Red with Tan Interior
Despite their humble Volkswagen-based beginnings, Porsche cars were by the 1950s already well on their way to establishing the company as the uncompromised motorsports leader that it remains today. Built to race and raced to win, the Porsche cars of this period were making their mark in America when US Porsche distributor Max Hoffman asked for an elemental sports car that could compete against low priced Triumphs and MGs. Porsche set out to build a car with essential performance traits, sparse features, and a level of reliability and durability unheard of in British sports cars. The resulting car, the Speedster, was priced under $3,000 and delivered all this and more, creating a legendary car that is one of the most often replicated cars of all time. The lowered windscreen, side curtains, minimal trim, and the resulting light weight and performance capability coupled with the low price all culminated in surprisingly strong sales, particularly in the United States, where Speedster performance and simplicity won the hearts of racers and enthusiasts alike. For 1959, the usability of the Speedster was enhanced by the fitment of a slightly taller windscreen and wind-up windows to replace the curtains. The resulting car, the Convertible D, was produced for only one model year.
According to the Porsche Certificate of Authenticity, this example was completed January 27, 1959 and delivered to North America. The car was finished in Ruby Red/5702 with Black Leatherette interior, departing the factory with engine number 72464 and gearbox 25472. Options included sealed beam headlights, reclining seats, and USA bumpers. It is one of 1,331 examples built between August 1958 and September 1959. In 1975 the car was purchased as a roller with no engine, on a bill of sale. In the mid 1980s, the owner started a restoration, checking with the Kentucky DMV on how to get the car properly titled. Advised that the only way to do so was on a salvage title, he reluctantly did so even though the car had never been significantly damaged or burned. The only sheet metal damage known before restoration is reported to have been limited to floor pan repairs, battery box, and repairs to a crimp in the hood from being improperly closed. The same owner retained the car for 39 years before selling it in 2014. Having been transferred from the Kentucky title to a new California owner, the salvage title history continues to be noted on the current California title today.
The restoration included an update to front disc brakes, body and paint, and interior work. The car retains the original gearbox showing matching numbers consistent with the Porsche CoA. The engine is reported to be a 1960 replacement. The carburetors and linkage, intake manifolds, and fan shroud are from engines built before September 1957 and valve train that appears to be period correct for this car. Attention to detail is evident in the restoration work showing solid floors that appear original with battery box metal work having been correctly done, use of Porsche components, and good quality materials.
Cosmetically, this Convertible D presents quite well as an attractive driver with very good glossy signal red paint showing some minor paint flaws when viewed up close. The body is solid with confident door closures, very good hood fit (hinge number not visible indicating the hood has been replaced), and good deck lid fit. The doors show a bit of fullness in the bodywork and panel gaps that could use some adjustment, but otherwise, the look of the car is quite satisfying overall. The exterior trim is consistent with the body and paint presentation, being very good for driving use and enjoyable for casual shows or events. The glass and lenses are in very good condition overall with no notable cracks or scratches of significance aside from a 2” crack at the lower driver’s side corner of the windshield. The headlights are covered with chrome plated stone guards, adding a nice vintage touch to the look of the car. Chrome trim is very good overall in many areas with some evidence of marginal wear in a few selected places. The white wall tires add an elegant but sporting touch against the body colored wheels and properly plated chrome domed wheel covers.
The interior has been restored using high quality material with very good fit and proper seam lines. The tan interior upholstery is a handsome and durable choice for the signal red exterior. The canvas top is very good quality, appearing to have little to no use and a properly fitting headliner. It is in good condition but sits a bit high when folded. There is no top boot present with the car. The remaining interior materials are very presentable, again for enjoyable use, appearing correctly redone, albeit with driving in mind. The instruments and dash are also very well done with clean and clear dial faces and numbers, and matching tan padded dash top. The chrome around the instruments shows some aging. A wood-rimmed Moto-Lita steering wheel and proper inner horn ring feature the Porsche crest. Overall the interior has a nice cohesive look and feel to it, ready for enjoyable use.
The engine compartment has been restored with proper finishes and Porsche components that are largely correct for this vintage 356. Various factory decals, linkage, and tidy detailing make a nice overall engine compartment. Fit and finish attractive and even, once again prepared to a driver quality with particular attention to detail missing a few original items including incorrect air cleaner tops. The underside of the car has been largely untouched with only the battery box showing evidence of replacement. No structural elements appear to have been compromised based on visual inspection. The underside of the engine compartment and numbers matching gearbox are clean and tidy as are the suspension, lines, hoses, and fittings.
This 356A has been sorted for driving and as such exhibits excellent engine sounds and good throttle response. Starting easily, the engine runs smoothly at idle and warms up well as it sets out for the open road. The engine makes welcome power quite easily with strong pull in all gears. Steering is tight and responsive as are the updated front disc brakes working well with the otherwise stock running gear. The car shifts, runs, and drives quite well, delivering agility and confidence with every mile. One gets the sense that long distance driving with this car would be not only a welcome event but one with ease and confidence. The car comes with a complete reproduction tool kit, correct matching spare tire, Porsche CoA, and previous evaluations and appraisals.
With the top down, heading out to the open highway or darting though back canyon roads, this highly desirable Porsche 356A Convertible D offers an enthusiast wonderful touring opportunities, leisurely show participation, and the pride of Porsche ownership.