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Lot 112

2019   |   Pebble Beach 2019

1951 Porsche 356

Coachwork by Reutter

Estimate

$700,000 - $900,000

Chassis

5575

Car Highlights

Ultra-Rare 356 Pre-A Split-Window “Four-Digit” Coupe
Restoration Completed in 2019
Presented in Its Original Color Combination, Equipped with Unstamped Type 729 Engine
One of Just 940 Coupes Built in 1951
Accompanied by Ownership History, Restoration Records, Kardex Copy, and Porsche COA

Technical Specs

1,300 CC Type 729 Air-Cooled Flat 4-Cylinder Engine
Twin Zenith Carburetors
43 BHP at 4,200 RPM
4-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
Front Independent Suspension with Torsion Bars
Rear Swing-Axle Suspension with Torsion Bars

Saleroom Addendum

Please note that a leaking wheel cylinder was noticed on inspection and will require attention before use.

Register to Bid

Dr. Bothe, Munich, Germany (acquired new via Mahag in 1951)Dewitt N. Morgan, Bellevue, Nebraska (acquired circa the late 1950s)Robert C. Edberg, Omaha, Nebraska (acquired from the above in 1961)Don Guertin, Worcester, Massachusetts (acquired after 1965)Walter J. Wesolaski Jr., North Brookfield, Massachusetts (acquired from the above in 1976)Tom Sherwood, Belmont, California (acquired from the above in 1977)Richard Ryan, San Lorenzo, California (acquired in 1977)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 1982)

In 1948, the fledgling Porsche company released its first model, the hand-built 356/2, with its body panels hand-hammered in aluminum in the Porsche family’s tiny workshop in Gmünd, Austria. By 1950, after relocating to Stuttgart, the earliest factory-produced 356 cars retained the flat-pane, split-windshield of the “Gmünd” model, before they were updated to the one-piece “bent” windshield in late 1952, making the initial examples easily distinguishable and ultimately desirable. Today, seven decades later, the tiny number of surviving split-window cars are among the most sought-after Porsches.

This 356 Coupe was completed on March 3, 1951, as cited by a copy of its original Kardex, in Ivory over Red leatherette. This very early example of the Pre-A is further differentiated by its four-digit chassis number – 5575. Later in the model year, the cars were numbered in a new series, beginning with 10000.

According to 5575’s Kardex, it was purchased new in mid-1951 from the Munich Porsche dealership Mahag by Dr. Bothe; it was apparently exported to the US within the next decade. Prior ownership records on file show that the 356 was next sold in July 1961 by Dewitt Morgan of Bellevue, Nebraska, to Robert Edberg of Omaha, who retained it until at least 1965. Don Guertin, proprietor of Imported Cars of Worcester, reportedly sold 5575 to Walter Wesolaski Jr. of North Brookfield, Massachusetts, in 1976. The following year it was acquired by Tom Sherwood of Belmont, California, who soon passed the rare early 356 on to Richard Ryan. In 1982, Mr. Ryan sold it to the consignor, who by then had been a Porsche specialist for years.

After more than 30 years of storage, the consignor conducted an extensive restoration of 5575, completing the metalwork and much of the assembly himself, in conjunction with marque experts in California, during a span from 2004 to 2019. The consignor has even reproduced, in steel, the competition-style lower valances, which he reports that the car had, in place of its body bumpers, when he purchased it. Every aspect has been addressed including mechanicals, all electricals, brakes, steering, and suspension. German Motors of California rebuilt the gearbox in 2014; Deutsche Motorsport completed the engine rebuild of 5575’s unstamped, replacement engine in 2016; and the upholstery was finished by Autos International Inc. Completed earlier this summer, the Porsche has not been driven but has been run regularly in recent months. A file of restoration receipts accompanies the Porsche Certificate of Authenticity, along with the Coupe’s spare wheel and tire.

Bearing a four-digit chassis number, this split-windshield 356 Pre-A offers a timely opportunity to acquire an incredibly rare survivor of Porsche’s earliest factory-built model, in its original colors, after having just been treated to a fresh restoration.