1959 Porsche 356A 1600 'Speedster D' by Drauz
- Rare and single model year Convertible D
- Converted to Speedster configuration in period
- Numerous performance upgrades throughout
- Multiple concours winner, three times at the Brumos Oktoberfest
- Includes factory Kardex and Porsche Certificate of Authenticity
Offered for only the 1959 model year, the Convertible D included wind-up door glass, as opposed to the Speedster’s plastic side curtains, well-padded coupe-style seats in place of the thin-shell Speedster buckets, a taller windshield, and an improved folding top. The rear cowling was reshaped, and the interior door panels now included storage pockets with latching flaps. Only 1,331 were built for that year.
This example, chassis number 86427, was a European-delivery car sent to dealer Hahn, of Stuttgart, Germany, on May 25, 1959. After delivery, the car was modified and fitted with a new factory Speedster windshield, Plexiglas roll-up windows, a Speedster top, and Speedster D script on the fenders, creating perhaps the world’s first roll-up window Speedster. In the early-1960s, the car was brought to the U.S. by its second owner, a returning U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. The current owner, believed to be the fourth, found the car in a Connecticut barn, where it had been stored for 20 years.
A former Naval Aviator, the owner describes himself as a “total Porsche guy,” having owned 67 Porsches over the last 50 years. After years of looking, he found this uniquely equipped ‘Speedster D’ to be the perfect project. His long, evolving plan was to create the ultimate “period,” open 356 road-race GT car with the best sourced parts available from the most notable experts.
Starting in 1994, Jason Hiler, of HMR, did the initial restoration of the metal work, as well as finishing the 356 in Astril Silver paint. During this process, they found that the parts package that came with the car included all the original panels, doors, hood, deck lid, bumpers, instruments, transmission, etc. It was also fitted with a rare Banjo steering wheel and cowl-mounted electrical kill-switch. Included with the car are the rare magnesium Campagnolo wheels and magnesium framed 1959 de Havilland Comet pilot seats with built-in inertial reel harnesses and swing away arm rests, recovered in Connolly leather.
Not on the car, but also included, are the original fuel tank, folding canvas top and tonneau, and the original steering wheel, as well as the original deck lid. Klub Sport, of Palm Beach, and Phil Bagley provided the car with a new hood, with the thru-hood fill system, the aluminum fuel-cell, door panels, custom tonneau with head rest, and the Carrera louvered deck lid.
The 1600 engine was sourced from Harry Pellow, while Vic Skirmants, of 356 Enterprises, supplied the high-performance Scat light crank, fly wheel, cam, deep sump, and rear camber bar. The vented, screened, and drilled brakes, and parts for the Warren Eads GT brake system, are from Gary Emory at Parts Obsolete. Additionally, he supplied the Sebring “Pea Shooter” exhaust. Completing the suspension setup are Koni adjustable shocks. Finally, the original 8,000 rpm tachometer, 200 kilometer speedo, and rare original sweep second-hand clock were sent to Palo Alto Speedometer, of California, for refreshing.
Porsche engine builder Jason Lee, also at HMR, freshened the engine and installed the forged hemi pistons and custom cylinders, as well as the 8,000 rpm capable heads and custom hi-po valve-train. There the engine was balanced, blue printed, CC'd and fitted with Super 90 Solex carburetors. On the dyno, this 356 put out an impressive 130+ horsepower.
For the past 20 years, it has participated in scores of vintage and Porsche events. Notable are its several concours wins at Brumos Octoberfest in 1997, 1999, and 2000. It was also awarded PCA People’s Choice Awards in 1997 and 2001. Finally, it was an outstanding participant in the Rennsport Reunion II at the Daytona Int'l Speedway in 2004, having been placed next to Porsche number 1!