1962 PORSCHE 356 Super 90 cabriolet

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1962 PORSCHE 356 Super 90 cabriolet

Background

Porsche's Type 356, introduced in 1948, is rightly acknowledged to be one of the world's great sports cars.

Over a 15-year production run, the handsome and durable 356 evolved from a streamlined little aluminium-bodied coupé powered by a VW-derived, 46bhp 1100cc air-cooled flat-four to a powerful autobahn burner carrying a complex, two-litre four-cam boxer Carrera engine, producing 130bhp.

The 356’s steady development brought not only coupés, but introduced luxurious cabriolets, speedsters, and roadsters. In all there were more than 76,000 examples built by the time production ceased in 1965.

The 356B, produced from 1960 through 1963, represents the mid-point in this design's progression. In what is known as ‘T5’ form, the B introduced new front and rear sheet-metal, while retaining the curved front trunk lid and rounded fenders of the 356A series. The B also added some features demanded by American customers, such as raised front and rear bumpers with over-riders to better protect the body from parking mishaps. The headlamps were raised, a larger hood handle added, and front vent windows appeared in the doors. Mechanically, the gearbox and drum brakes were upgraded. A new steering wheel and column refreshed the interior, along with redesigned rear seats.

A ‘Super’ model with raised compression added an extra 15bhp over the standard version, while the even hotter ‘Super 90’ added 30bhp – a full 50% more power than the base car.

The Vehicle

Chassis No: 157214.

Engine No: 805951/1600 S90 616/7.

Transmission No: 58231/741/2A.

This matching numbers Porsche 356 Super 90 Cabriolet, one of only 700 or so ever built, left the Zuffenhausen factory on the 9th of September 1962.

Not long after that, a man by the name of Charles R. Hunt ordered the car from legendary Hollywood Porsche and VW dealers Competition Motors – the same firm from which James Dean had purchased his 356 Super Speedster in 1955.

Charles R. Hunt, we understand, bought the car for someone at the Hughes Aircraft Company.

Given that, at the time, this car was five times the price of a Jaguar E Type, you’ll forgive us for our wistful conjecture that maybe - just maybe - the car was bought on behalf of Howard Hughes or his then wife, Jean Peters.

Who knows?

Not us, that’s for sure.

This exquisite 356 Super 90 Cabriolet was bought by the vendor 13 years ago. Since then, he has spent upwards of £60,000 ensuring that the car is in the sublime aesthetic and mechanical condition you see today.

This is a rare ‘survivor’ car. That’s to say it’s pretty much as it left the factory, save for a respray, a restored interior and, of course, replacement parts for those things that tend to wear out and need replacing.

The vendor, who has long been a serial collector of classic cars and is now, by his own admission, attempting to stop his hobby from becoming an obsession (hence the sale of this and some other cars from his collection), has driven this vehicle just three times in 13 years.

It seems previous owners were equally sparing in their use of this extraordinary car because, some 60 years after it rolled off the production line at, the odometer (calibrated in mph) reads just 37,632.

We know from the Porsche Certificate of Authenticity that comes with the car that it was originally ‘Ruby Red’ with ‘Grey Leatherette’ (vinyl) upholstery. It was optioned with ‘limited slip differential, spare bag, fog lights, Frankfurt Blaupunkt radio, two speakers, antenna’, and first registered on 22.12.62.

We have driven it and can report that it starts, goes and stops like clockwork; that it has admirable poise and balance; that it presses on with urgency when asked; that it has clearly been fettled and tuned into an optimal state; and that all it needs is more time on the road to properly clear its throat and get some air through the carburettors.

It is, in short, splendid in every conceivable way.

On the Outside

Quite frankly, the condition of this car challenges the vocabulary of anyone trying to describe it.

The vendor has protected this car from anything that might do it harm – rain, snow, excessive heat, cold or humidity, stones, grit, dust, funny looks, sarcasm, etc.

We were under strict instructions to only touch it with microfibre cloths. We were more than happy to follow this injunction, given the fabulous condition of this car.

As you might expect, all shut lines, panel gaps and panels are untroubled by dinks, dents, creases, folds or ripples.

The bare metal black re-spray gleams with a rare and very hard to achieve glossiness and depth of lustre.

It’s pretty much immaculate.

Ditto the chrome work, which has been re-chromed on the vendor’s watch.

The wheels are excellent, all five tyres were new last year, and all lights, lenses, badging and exterior fixtures and fittings - including the entirely appropriate California-style registration plate holders - are in fine order.

The cabrio roof, headlining and tonneau cover were ordered from Klaus Hermann Mayer of Germany and fitted by TFI Motor Trimmers of Exeter. They are, naturally, in exemplary condition and function as they should.

Regular readers will know that there’s nothing we like more than finding fault with a car and letting the world know all about it.

We have to report that we struggled to find anything worth moaning about with this particular vehicle.

Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s what we managed to come up with after a very long time looking.

The tonneau cover’s poppers can be a little hard to press home but, when done, the fit is accordingly tight and true.

There is a tiny nick in the rubber trim at the base of the window on the passenger side.

There is a small scuff and a couple of scratches right at the bottom of the front valance on the passenger side.

That’s it.

On the Inside

The time-warp condition is equally alive and well on the inside.

It’s really very hard to believe that this car emerged blinking into the light in the year Marilyn Monroe died, Sean Connery first told everyone his name was Bond, James Bond, and Chubby Checker invited young people everywhere to get themselves in a twist.

The grey carpets and mats (again, ordered from Klaus Hermann Mayer of Germany and fitted by TFI Motor Trimmers of Exeter) are untroubled by any indications of age, wear or use that we can see.

So, too, are the comfortable, supportive and functional grey vinyl seats.

The door cards are in fine fettle, as are the dashboard, gear lever, steering wheel and all instruments, dials, knobs, switches, levers and buttons.

The vendor assures us that everything works and does precisely what it’s supposed to do.

The front luggage space is pristine (save for a bit of loose rubber seal) and contains a spare wheel and a very impressive leather Porsche tool roll.

Underneath

What’s visible looks solid, mostly original, and possessed of the right amount of structural integrity.

The undersides of the car don’t raise any eyebrows or prompt a tut.

Which is unsurprising when you consider the car’s low mileage, the fact that it’s lived most of its life in California, some of it in Texas, and a little bit in the ownership of a British vendor who has spared no expense or effort in his care for the vehicle.

Everything in the engine bay seems to be in its right and proper place and is reassuringly clean and shiny.

History Highlights

The car doesn’t currently have an MoT certificate, but comes with a couple of previous certificates and, of course, a V5.

It also comes with a set of authentic replacement manuals and handbooks, a photograph of the now-defunct Competition Motors dealership in Hollywood from which it was purchased in 1962, and a collection of invoices, bills and receipts attesting to the assiduous and expert restoration, servicing and maintenance work carried out on the car by, among others, Roger Bray Restoration, Steve Bull

Specialist Cars, TFI Motor Trimmers and the Heritage Parts Centre. These bills and invoices can be viewed in the documents section.

What We Think

We think you’ll be a very long time waiting to find a better, low mileage Porsche 356B Super 90 Cabriolet than this one.

It’s a joy to behold, a pleasure to drive and a delight to the senses in every imaginable way.

You really should come and see it for yourself.

We’re confident to offer it for auction with an estimate of between £120,000 - £140,000.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Bidders MUST ensure they are aware of the registration situation of a car in auction, and whether it will be possible to export/register a vehicle in their country BEFORE they bid.

All vehicles MUST BE COLLECTED WITHIN 7-DAYS of the auction end. Storage fees of £180 + VAT apply (per week) thereafter without exception.

If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage can offer you options, plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping both domestic and international.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using basic cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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Seller

vwdood

  • Location: The Market HQ Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 37950
  • Chassis Number: 157214
  • Engine: 1598
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Steering position: Left-hand drive
  • Colour: Black
  • Interior: Grey
  • Estimated Price: £120,000 - £140,000

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