Graduating from high school in a small ranching community of Freer, Texas in 1951 left few employment options, but John Secord had a plan. He made the 115 mile drive north to San Antonio to attend St. Mary’s University where he would join the ROTC with an eye on the future. Commissioned as an officer in the Army he was then stationed half a world away in Frankfurt, Germany. That stay in Germany was the first time the young officer had ever laid eyes on a 356 Porsche which became an obsession.
Scrimping and saving for a few years during his stay would afford him a special 356 indeed. The Porsche had to be an open top car as the summer heat in his native Texas would turn a coupe into an oven. Being exposed to the racing in Europe meant in 1959 you only had one option, the Convertible D. Watching 550 Spyders circle the ring with their sleek lines and cut down windscreens, his convertible “D” would have to have those lines.
John went into Glockler Porsche and ordered his “D” with going home to Texas on his mind. The exterior had to have the sleek lines he so admired in the 550’s so the first box checked was for the Spyder fender mounted mirror. The clunky looking overrider U.S. bumpers wouldn’t do so he opted to Euro bumpers with the sealed beam headlights. With the Texas heat on his mind, the Ivory paint color was the first and only choice.
The interior didn’t afford many options. For a Native Texan there was only one choice: real leather. Red or beige wouldn’t do while John was in the saddle so brown seemed the only choice. Well, if you’re going to pony up for leather you might as well finish the job and order the convertible top boot in leather also. Like so many people from that era, a lighter and ashtray were necessary evils. Out back the only option was the 1600 Super engine with all 75hp on tap. The roads in Texas are long and gas stations scarce, so the 80 liter GT tank was also required. In February of 1959 this special D arrived. New orders that same year and a transfer to Fort Bliss meant John was going home. We can only imagine what it would feel like for this young officer to go to his home town of Freer in the special 356D that summer. The car was eventually sold, but John’s widow told me he often talked about his 356 Porsche until he passed a few years back and his memories lasted a lifetime.
In May of 1978 and Larry and Anita Banke of Camarillo California were on the hunt for a new 912. As Porsche club members they put the word out to the local members. That quest brought them to the home of another PCA member a few towns over in Newbury Park, California. He was selling his 912, and from the description it would fit the bill nicely. Upon arrival the best laid plans went astray as Anita and Larry laid her eyes on the “Darling” convertible D. The Bankes had never owned a 356 but it was love at first sight. Now in a rich Tobacco Brown color, the car seemed to fit in the 70’s. The Bankes covered Porsche events all over California with their “Darling” from San Diego to San Francisco. But as is often the case, life got in the way and the D was relinquished to garage duty in the late 90’s where it rarely saw the light of day.
Cam and I first saw this car 2 years ago and have been trying to buy it since that moment. Since the first day I saw this “Darling” D we knew we had to have it. It has been brought back to its’ original specs, with the Ivory paint. We are in the finishing (sorting out) phase of the restoration and will have it completely finished in a few weeks. This is simply the rarest optioned D on the planet with a concours restoration that will be the “Darling” of its next collection.
Rare options on this Convertible D include:
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