1951 Porsche 356 (Split Window Coupe) SOLD

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According to Dr. Brett Johnson’s book 356 Porsche: A Restorer’s Guide to Authenticity, chassis number 11260 is classified as a 1951 model before 1952 production serial numbers began. The Kardex for 11260 shows a production date of 2/25/52. According to factory records that Dr. Johnson obtained, 1952 production serial numbers started with 11301.

Model ’51 from mid-March 1951 through February of 1952.
Model ’52 from March 1952 through September of 1952.
Model ’53 from October 1952 through March of 1954.

As we sometimes find with Porsche Kardex’s, there is not much information recorded for #11260. This late Split Window coupe was delivered new to Schmidt & Koch in Bremen, Germany, originally painted Maroon. The original engine (P-20932) was a 1300cc type 506. Over the years, this engine was separated from the coupe and P-40274 was installed. This one is a rare 1500cc Super Engine type 528 from 1953 production.

History of #11260:
Thomas Birch, the founder of the Porsche 356 Split Window registry and renowned expert on the subject matter, purchased VIN #11260 in the late 1970’s. After acquiring the car, Mr. Birch installed some missing original parts and made it his daily driver.
In 1984, he sold #11260 to Jim Jenks of “Ocean Pacific” apparel fame so that Birch could put a down deposit on a home. Mr. Jenks eventually took the car to a body shop in Costa Mesa, California, to be restored. Sadly, the owner of the restoration shop unscrupulously started to sell parts from this coupe and other projects in his shop. Eventually, the body shop went out of business and the coupe was sold in a package deal along with a 1952 Cabriolet to Dieter Vongehr. Mr. Vongehr restored both cars with Thomas Birch, who oversaw both projects, with expert advice on the correct details on these early 356’s. This car, #11260, was finished in 2006 and the Ingram Collection of Durham, NC, acquired it.
This car was featured in the book Porsche Unexpected: Discoveries in Collecting, and is ready to be enjoyed by a new care taker.

Porsche Unexpected Discoveries in Collecting

Section I, Chapter 2. 

By Randy Leffingwell           

1951 356 “Split Window” coupe    

     Steel bodies and a Made in Germany badge replaced aluminum panels and a “Product of Austria” label on Porsche’s car as serial production began in earnest when the firm returned to Zuffenhausen from its war-time hide out in Gmünd, Austria. Dozens of other changes differentiated the 356/1 cars from the Stuttgart-built 356/2 models. Conversations had gone on for some time between the United States Combined Forces and the Porsche about the company returning to its own buildings. The U.S. Combined Forces occupying Porsche Werks as their motor pool headquarters, and everything was nearly in order until, in late 1950, the start of the Korean War put everything on hold for another five years. This forced Ferry to rent spaces from his neighbor, Reutter Karosserie, to resume manufacture. Ferry paid them 500DM per month (about $119) to rent nearly 5,400 square feet for assembly space. Porsche’s workers turned out their first 356 Stuttgart coupe in early April 1950. These 40-horsepower cars carried a price of 9,950DM, ($2,369 at the time.) Production efficiency slowly improved from one car per day for these entirely hand-made steel-body automobiles. Within the first few months, Porsche had received orders for cars from six dealers in Germany as well as distributors in Sweden, Portugal, and Holland.

     As Europe readjusted to peacetime, private-owner racers made their first tentative efforts in reestablishing competition around the continent and in Great Britain. They learned they had a willing and supportive manufacturer behind them in Porsche at Zuffenhausen. Paris distributor Auguste Veuillet was so enthusiastic about the first production coupe he received for sale in October 1950 that he pressured Ferry and Ferdinand to get him another for the Le Mans 24 hours endurance race. He believed the car could do well and that a good showing there would spur sales.

     The 500th production Porsche 356 appeared on 21 March 1951. Less than three months after that accomplishment, Porsche registered another one that proved Frenchman Veuillet correct: He and his friend and co-driver Edmond Mouche, finished first in class at Le Mans in their Gmünd-built aluminum body 356SL.

     The 1,000th production car came off the small assembly line just six months later. From humble beginnings with VW-derived flat-four cylinder 40 horsepower engines of 1086cc displacement, Porsche added a new 1,286cc version for 1951, supplemented with a 60 horsepower engine of 1500cc.

     According to historians Jürgen Barth and Gustav Büsing, during 1950, Porsche assembled 369 steel coupes in Zuffenhausen with the 1.1-liter engine. An additional 31 of the 1.1-liter cars emerged in 1951 but a greater proportion of production that year left the factory fitted with the 44 horsepower 1,286cc flat four; these accounted for some 353 cars in all. Add to that the much more powerful 60 horsepower 1488cc option and Porsche learned something about its customers: Power sells and more power sells better. In all 595 buyers selected that 1.5-liter engine option. 

     The return to Zuffenhausen was a technologically important – and an emotionally significant – one for Ferry. While his cars “graduated” from hand-formed aluminum to Reutter-built “mass” hand-formed steel bodywork, dozens of mechanics and assistants who had been left behind in Germany by the move to Austria, already were there waiting. They had returned to Porsche Werks days or weeks after the truce only to find a willing employer by the name of Captain Thompson, the officer in charge of the U.S. Army 3rd Division Motor Pool. Thompson was ready, willing, and able to take them on. According to interviews with retired racing mechanics Werner Enz and Herbert Linge, Thompson sent out truck to pick them up each morning and bring them to work. Thompson fed them, employed them, paid them in cash, and drove them home each evening, encouraging them to take home the day’s left-over food.

     When Thompson and his six American fellow-officers finally left the Porsche werks, the Porsche mechanics threw a party for them.

     For Porsche, returning to Zuffenhausen was a home coming even though they used one large building they rented from Reutter and another nearby that Ferry had to purchase. Still, it gave Porsche a new product and a new identity.


1951 Porsche 356 “Split Window Coupe”

Delivered new to Schmidt & Koch in Bremen, Germany

Production Completion Date: 02/25/52

Chassis No: 11260

Engine No: P-20932 1300cc Type 506 (no longer with #11260) 

Now has Engine No: P-40274 (1500cc Super Engine type 528 from 1953 production)

Transmission Number/Type: Not recorded

Exterior Color/Code: Maroon Red (503)

Interior Material Color/Type: Not recorded

Optional Equipment: Not recorded

Original Telefunken push button radio, Original Spiegel antenna (antenna built into the base of the driver’s side mirror)

Known ownership history:
1952: Delivered new to Schmidt & Koch in Bremen, Germany
1979: Thomas Birch (Founder of the Split Window Registry) Santa Ana, CA
1984: Jim Jenks (Founder of Ocean Pacific Surf Wear) San Diego, CA
1987: Dieter Vongehr. Le Mesa, CA
2006: Ingram Collection. Durham, NC

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1951 Porsche 356 (Split Window Coupe) SOLD