Art of the Automobile

21 November 2013

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Lot 116

1959 Porsche 356 A Carrera 1600 GS 'Sunroof' Coupé by Karosserie Reutter

  • Chassis no. 108399
  • Engine no. 93126
  • Gearbox no. 28925

Sold for $605,000


  • The most iconic shape in motoring; 65 years of styling perfection
  • Beautifully and expertly restored
  • Sought-after in both sunroof and “GS” specification


In March 1948, in a small factory in Gmünd, Austria, Ferry Porsche, son of engineer Dr. Ing Ferdinand Porsche, designed and built a small two-seater sports car, which would be the first car to bear his family’s name. At the time, it was an utterly unique design of smooth lines, it was devoid of a grille, and it had an engine that was behind the rear passenger compartment. Little did Ferry know that his design would be regarded as the quintessential German sports car to this day, and it catapulted the family concern into becoming one of the most well-respected sports car manufacturers in the world. Its iconic shape would remain largely unaltered for 65 years and counting; it was a design of such simplicity and perfection that any deviation from the norm would be considered automotive sacrilege.



This automobile, designated the 356, came to define Porsche until 1965, and it would create the blueprint for both the appearance and technical layout of Porsches for years to come. While the 356 saw a variety of different body variations and engine options over the course of its production, the sunroof coupe stands out as the most desirable. Combining all the visual elements of the coupe and providing the possibility of open air motoring, it offered its driver the comfort of the coupe and the freedom of the speedster.



The most potent mechanical variation of the 356 was the Carrera model, which was powered by the slightly detuned, Fuhrmann-designed four-camshaft, 1,600-cubic centimeter racing engine. Available in both “GT” race specification and “GS” touring specification, Porsche made sure that their new engine could be marketed on a platform to individuals who were looking to spend time on the track, or to those who were looking to drive down the Autobahn in style. The engine quickly found acclaim from enthusiast groups.



While many Porsches of this type were campaigned on the track, it appears that this 1959 Porsche 356 A Carrera 1600 GS ‘Sunroof’ Coupé was specified by its first owner, Robert Blackwood, of Atlanta, Georgia, for long-distance touring. It was delivered with a long list of factory options, according to its Porsche Certificate of Authenticity, including a Blaupunkt radio and two loudspeakers, a rear luggage rack, an electric clock, an 80-liter fuel tank, a factory-installed roll bar, and a very desirable and rare sunroof. When considering these options, and also the Carrera 1600 GS-specification drivetrain, this Porsche would certainly have been one of the priciest and most desirable examples delivered stateside that year.



The car passed through two owners after Blackwood, before being purchased by H.D. Clark, also of Atlanta, Georgia. The 356 remained in frequent use in the Clark family for the next 10 years, until H.D. grew ill and was no longer able to drive his Porsche. As a result, the car remained in storage before it was purchased by a Porsche enthusiast in Chattanooga, Tennessee, who commissioned a concours-quality restoration.



Beginning in 2002, this 356 went through a complete restoration by Porsche specialist Gary Kempton, at GK Restorations in Florida, while Porsche specialist Vernon Crotts was tasked with rebuilding the engine (number 93126, with transmission number 28925). The car was completely taken apart, and every nut and bolt was restored to concours standards. Repainted in its original shade of Porsche Silver Metallic (5706), with an interior finished in dark blue leather, this example exudes a subtle elegance that does nothing to distract from the body’s flowing lines.



The current owner has driven the car only sparingly since acquiring it, and he has exhibited the car proudly and very successfully. Winning Best in Show honors at the 2010 Saint Louis Regional Porsche Car Show certainly spoke to the car’s condition and authenticity. In October 2011, it was invited to take place in Rennsport Reunion IV & Porsche Race Car Classic, hosted at The Quail Lodge in Monterey, California, where it was displayed alongside many other world-class four-cam and racing Porsches.



Of all the Porsche 356 body styles that have appeared over its 22-year production run, the Carrera 1600 GS models are among the most valuable, the most thrilling to drive, and the most beautiful to behold. Meticulously restored and presented in Porsche’s trademark color, this is a prime example of Stuttgart’s finest. It has been over 65 years since the first Porsche hit the road, and the 356 still has visible ties to current 911 models, proving that the apple has never fallen far from the tree. Revered for its innovative engineering and timeless styling, the 356 A Carrera 1600 GS ‘Sunroof’ Coupé is, quite simply, automotive perfection incarnate.

Addendum

Please note that this Porsche features a matching numbers drivetrain and body, as confirmed by its Porsche Certificate of Authenticity.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more