1959 Porsche 356A Convertible D by Drauz
- The successor to the 356 Speedster
- Owned by a noted Porsche authority and restorer
- “Twin grille” deck lid and Abarth four-pipe exhaust
- Colorado Grand veteran
The original Porsche 356 Speedster has become a legend, but in its day, it was just a bit too bare-bones for some customers. Porsche’s answer was the 356A Convertible D, “D” referring to Drauz, the German coachbuilder that produced the new car’s bodywork. The new car featured a higher windshield and wind-up door windows for enhanced weather protection, as well as fully upholstered seats, and it was built using the same 356A styling, chassis, and drivetrain as the final Speedsters.
Of the three versions of Porsche’s lightweight open cars equipped with removable chrome-framed windshields, the Convertible D is the rarest. Only 1,330 were built, compared to nearly 4,000 356 and 356A Speedsters and 2,653 356B Roadsters. That makes the Convertible D a prized commodity today.
The car offered here was originally purchased by an American doctor who took delivery at the Porsche dealership in Munich, Germany, as is documented by the factory Kardex card. Interestingly, it is equipped today with a “twin grille” engine deck lid, versus the majority of Convertible Ds, which have the normal 356A “single grille” lid. A Drauz advertisement of the period shows the second Convertible D built, for a member of the Porsche family, and it has the twin grille lid. How long this particular car has had twin grilles is not known, but it is certainly a rare and desirable feature, as is the Abarth four-pipe exhaust with which the Porsche is also equipped.
The car was restored some years ago in its original Ruby Red color, and at some point in time, it’s original 1600 Super engine was replaced with a replacement engine, built using engine case 65439 and correct 1600 Super components. Importantly, the car is supplied with the front case from the original engine, bearing the number 84390, which shows as the original engine on both the Certification of Authenticity and the Kardex—both of which accompany the car. Recently, to improve drivability, the original Zenith carburetors were replaced with Solex carburetors; the original carburetors, manifolds, and air cleaners also transfer with the car.
The car’s present East Coast owner, a prominent long-time collector and enthusiast well-known in Porsche circles, has driven it in various rallies and events. Since he acquired the Porsche in 2003, it has participated in the 1,000-mile Colorado Grand on three occasions, completing all trips without any difficulties. It has also been driven in the Highlands Classics events in North Carolina.
This is a desirable, honestly presented Porsche of rarity and beauty, and it is ready to drive and rally in style.