As Dr. Ferdinand Porsche’s first large-scale automotive offering to the world, the 356 didn’t have much to live up to. It was unique, fresh, and new in every way, giving the public an entirely new concept in the world of sports cars. The layout of the 356 was to be the DNA that would grow Porsche into the cutting edge company it is today, and ultimately sealing its fate in automotive history. When first debuting in 1948 the 356, then built in Gmund, Austria, was a small town sports car just gaining traction. It was a raw, 1,100CC Flat Four powered split windscreen coupe that embodied simplicity and lightweight performance. By 1954 Max Hoffman was well established as Porsche’s Sole US Importer, the company was growing fast, and as a result changes were made. First the 1600 A was introduced, then the speedster, a few other variants bodied by a small variety of coachbuilders and then in 1960 the biggest change yet came. The 356B as we know it was launched in 1960, it had slight body changes over the A and offered a few different power options, interior options, and all round had a variety of redesigns that made it better.
The example on offer here, a 1963 Porsche 356B Coupe, Chassis # 125081 is a 2-owner example with exact history from new. There is no Certificate of Authenticity included simply because every last detail is notated in the car’s history file. Everything from the original selling invoice, to original books, service history, and warranty information. This 356 has superb history that is rarely duplicated. Life started for this Slate Grey B Coupe on July 4th 1963, having sold new to a Mr. Sherman H. Janke of Glenview, IL. The selling dealer was Porsche Car Import of Northbrook, IL. Both the chassis number (125081) and engine number (P610968) are noted on the original invoice, which matches the car exactly. The options from new appear to be Michelin Tires, Headrests and Blaupunkt Radio. It was finished in the highly desirable Slate Grey and to this day retains what appears to be in every possible way, a mint original interior. During the cars travels Mr. Janke kept a ledger of the mileage accrued and the repairs as needed until its sale to the second and most recent owner in 1974 at about 39,939 miles. Up until this point the service history is exact and well documented. The second owner, a Mr. Haynes of Harbor Springs, MI kept the car until 2015 accumulating only 21,000 miles in 39 years, totaling 61,201 as the original mileage to this date. For the better part of the past 5 years Mr. Haynes kept his 356 well kept, indoors, and dormant until its sale in 2015. Upon bringing the car to Pennsylvania, a servicing was completed by Possum Hollow Motorsports bring the car to a reliable running, driving, and stopping state. Nearly $8,000 was spent rebuilding the brake system, fuel system, and shift linkage.
Cosmetically, this car’s theme overall is that of a very original car worthy of preservation. However, it appears to have had at least on re-spray in its life, thus far. Some original paint may be present, and the car could be enjoyed in its current state as a presentable driver. However, in comparison to the mint original interior, the car deserves a proper strip and repaint to be considered ideal. It is straight down the sides with excellent door gaps and trunk gap; and never hit or rusty as evident by the exterior condition. Though consistently driver quality on the exterior the items worth mentioning that should see attention are the hood, which has a slight kink, and various little chips and imperfections throughout. The rear bumper shows a small indentation where it backed into something as well. The chrome and trim items are in good order as originals, and even the marker lights are the correct ones with part numbers still cast in them. All of the glass is original, rubber still acceptable, and overall it is a consistent package for a driver, in terms of cosmetics.
Entering the interior instantly alerts any “Porschephile” as to this cars history and originality. The interior is the one place that defines this car as “text-book original” in many ways. The seats, carpets, dash top and face, headliner, rear seats, door panels, kick panels and the like are all 100% original, untouched and nearly un-used after 52 years. There are signs of use, a few flaws to be found, but in total the interior is a basis for both education as to correctness, but an absolute joy to enjoy as an original. The materials and finishes from the factory are seldom matched in a restoration. The techniques, tightness of fabric, contours and a variety of minute details are all impressive and rarely seen. Under the dash still shows factory markings, spot welds and total correctness throughout.
The engine bay is consistent with the mileage of the car overall. While remarkably original with correct original sound deadening, stickers, spot welds, clamps etc… it shows to have had bolts turned, is dirty from use, age, and overall shows to have been serviced but never altered. The engine number is prominently displayed as the original and the car has no leaks from the tops side. The underside does show some valve cover gasket leaks, and overall will require some additional servicing to be brought totally in order. Otherwise the theme of originality continues. The car underneath appears to have always been solid and carries old undercoating. The one and only place we have noted rust replacement is in the battery box area. Upon inspecting the front trunk everything as expected is original between fit, finish, and coatings, but the battery box appears to have been patched at one point or another; a common place for rust on these cars.
Starting this 356 is effortless as a strong running example that has quick throttle response, runs, drives, shifts, steers and stops remarkably well. While the tires are not the originals they have a correct period look and will be ideal for showing, though long distance travel is not recommended due to their age. The wheels and hubcaps are untouched, and in general this car performs well and looks great as an all round tidy little 356 with good history. Included in the sale are all of the original documents (books & records), tools, jack and spare. 356’s are abundant, but ones with known history from day one in desirable colors with time-capsule interiors are seldom offered for sale. This is an opportunity for a discerning buyer to pursue a genuine example that can be cherished for years to come.
Available Documentation: (Click on the links below to view the file)