Early Porsche 356 cabriolet in immaculate restored condition

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Porsche
The very early 356 is highly desirable among Porsche collectors

Here’s one for the serious Porsche collector.  Very serious, as in Seinfeld serious, because this rare example of a very early 356 cabriolet will set you back.

The Pick of the Day is a 1951 Porsche 356 cabriolet, a split-windshield car with the wonderfully purposeful look of the original design.

Porsche
The enveloping bodywork focused on aerodynamics

The Porsche is in fully restored condition, finished in its original color combination of Pascha Red over a Beige leather interior, according to the Fallbrook, California, dealer advertising the sports car on ClassicCars.com.

The seller provides a brief history of the car in the ad.

“This ’51 Split-Window was completed on September 8th, 1951 and was delivered to its first owner in Buenos Aries, Argentina, where it remained for over thirty years,” the seller wrote. “The car was then purchased by a German buyer who shipped it to the United States, prior to exporting the car to Germany.

Porsche
The convertible top looks to be in great condition

“Over the period between 1989-1990, the car underwent a restoration that included a full mechanical overhaul, new paint, and all new brightwork. The car remained in this condition until it changed hands again in 2007. Several years after its most recent owner purchased it, this 356 underwent a complete ground-up restoration to a very high standard.”

In the annals of Porsche 356 ownership, the earliest cars are highly desired for their unique appearance and heritage.  Drivability would be an acquired taste with one of these historic cars, which hewed closely to their Volkswagen lineage.

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The seller advises that 1951 models got a boost in displacement and power for their flat-4, air-cooled engines, going from 1,100 cc to 1,300 cc and from 36 to 44 horsepower.  So yes, these were the formative years for Porsche.  And no, the car is not fast.

Porsche
The first-generation dashboard was attractively designed

But there’s no denying the terrific style of the ’51 356, an aerodynamic envelope that carried through the generations of 356 models through 1964, and can still be seen in the sharper design of the latest 911.  This 356 predates the popular Speedster models, which came a few years later and have flown up in value of late.

The seller does not list the selling price for this relic, asking that prospective buyers contact the dealership.  But be prepared because according to the Hagerty Price Guide, these early cars go for $240,00 in average shape and rise to $625,000 in concours condition, which this one seems to be.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

1 COMMENT

  1. i have a friend who has a 52 split windshield coupe.I helped him install disc brakes all around inatalled 912 motor with a cmodel gearbox.It drives like a slot car and will fly.I have never seen another in person and have been around a while.He drives it all the time and when people ask what it is he tells them its a vw.

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