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LOT 474

Selling on Saturday Evening

Body by Drauz

1959 Porsche 356A Convertible D

  • Rare one-year-only production 356A Convertible D garage find
  • Documented by a Porsche COA, ample paperwork and California registration
  • As featured on noted YouTube series 'Coffee Walk'

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Drauz Body No: 86210

Porsche’s 356A is truly the most swoon-worthy production automobile the Stuttgart firm ever created. Although the Speedster was designed as a bare-bones, road-racer for the consumer market from 1955 to 1959, the single-year 356A Convertible D captured the enticing looks and power of the Speedster but delivered the comfort and amenities the public had been hankering for. The D was only produced in 1959 before the model was transformed into the 356B in 1960; at a mere 1,331 manufactured, it is one of the rarest production automobiles to ever don the Porsche badge.

The Porsche 356 is cloaked in mystique and celebrity. It is among the most charismatic automobiles in history with a curvaceous frame and anthropomorphized headlights that have made our hearts beat faster long before it ripped across the blacktop in Top Gun. This is the model that launched Porsche into stardom and introduced the marque to its future as the greatest German sportscar manufacturer of all time. It garnered accolades at Le Mans and across Europe and its Speedster drove Porsche’s sales when the UK’s Jaguar, MG, and Austin-Healey were making a splash in the U.S. When Erwin Komenda’s stylized eye-catching Porsche 356A Speedster debuted in 1955, it was only offered as a stripped-down, road-going sportscar with a soon-to-be iconic body. The bare-bones Speedster was originally dubbed, “the bathtub Porsche,” because it actually accumulated water like the eponymous vessel. By the late ‘50s, Speedster sales were beginning to slow as customers looked elsewhere for something more weatherproof, comfortable, and accommodating in a sports car and the 1959 356A Convertible D was the answer.

The Convertible D offered a higher, redesigned windshield frame that was more effective in function, roll down windows for the first time; the convertible top was improved with a fixed rear windshield and the bare-bones cabin was enhanced with more comfortable coupe-style seats, door panel pockets and other refinements. It was a resounding hit, but the next year the 356B would be introduced with a restyled body and myriad alterations. With only 1,331 examples manufactured, the Porsche 356A Convertible D was only offered for the 1959 model year, making it one of the rarest production model Porsches to ever roll out of Stuttgart. The 356A Convertible D boasts the inimitable look of the dazzling Speedster with all of the practical, previously unavailable amenities. Dennis Collins has a passion for Porsches and had been hunting for a 356A Convertible D for years when this garage find miraculously materialized. Drauz body number 86210 was uncovered with its original engine, Porsche Certificate of Authenticity, the original Porsche emblem, and a treasure trove of original documents including a California pink slip and transfer slip from 1980, paperwork from its 1976 sale, an old California parking ticket, service records, registration paperwork, and old photographs. According to its factory build sheet, this car was purchased new by PFC Robert Grygiel of Oneonta, New York when he was likely stationed in Germany. Its California owner, Clarence Paul Buist III, purchased the car in 1980 as accompanying paperwork can attest. When Mr. Collins discovered this unbelievable time capsule, it had been stored for many years. The front end had been repaired by Rod Emory, a major Porsche bodywork expert, which actually adds to the caché of the car. Collins knew what he had when his Coffee Walk cameras rolled at the car’s unveiling. He quickly met the asking price, loaded the car on his hauler, and began a cosmetic restoration of the body. Documented on Coffee Walk, a coat of white, and original color code 5702 Ruby Red, paint were stripped down to the metal and the Drauz body received striking Ivory White paint in Porsche color code 5704 by McFarland Classic Restoration. The original 1600 Type 546 air-cooled, flat-four-cylinder engine and a four-speed transaxle with dual carburetors have all undergone comprehensive servicing.

This true garage find is purring beautifully and is robed in ivory over original black leatherette interior offset by sporty concise gauges and a Blaupunkt radio. Chassis 86210 is well-documented and represents a wonderful opportunity to own and enjoy a rare, one-year-only 356A Convertible D.

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