In July of 1958, Porsche sent a letter to all of its foreign distributors stating that the Speedster which had been designed specifically to fill the demand for a low-cost, stripped-down sporting convertible for the United States had not been all received elsewhere. The letter also informed that a new model was going to be introduced in 1959 and would be manufactured by Karosseriewerke Drauz of Heilbronn, Germany. Its styling was reminiscent of the Speedster while offering the comfort and amenities of a Cabriolet- specifically wind-up glass windows in place of side curtains, a taller, more angular, and less raked windshield with a taller convertible top to match, and a more luxurious interior with coupe seats as standard. The earlier “bee-hive” tail lamps were replaced by larger teardrop-shaped tail lights, and the U.S.-destined cars received front and rear bumper guards with over riders.
The new model was designated the Convertible D, the D representing the coachmaker Drauz. The 356A Convertible D was produced as an interim model for the 1959 model year only before being replaced by the 356 B Roadster in 1960. The Convertible D was offered alongside the Cabriolet- both were soft-top options, the Cabriolet was an open version of the Coupe, while the Convertible D was unique in its construction and styling. Porsche’s sales literature advertised the new Convertible D as ”a dynamic car of beautiful proportions. Extra light and low in design for competition and pleasure driving.”
Production began in August 1958 and ended in September 1959, with a total of 1,331 units produced in that period. A fraction of those examples were ordered with the 75-horsepower high compression type 616/2 Super engine, approximately 300 in total.
This example is a factory-ordered 356 Convertible D Super and is a numbers-matching example. According to the Kardex, it was originally painted Meissen Blue (code 5703) over black leatherette. We performed a complete bare-metal, Concours-level restoration in 2007-08. When it was stripped to bare metal, it was confirmed that this was a completely solid, rust-free example with no evidence of accident damage. While performing the restoration, the car was tailored to our client’s taste and the decision was made to build the car to mild outlaw specifications which can easily be reversed to stock specifications if desired. The color was changed to Auratium Green (code 5712), another 1959 color, and the interior was finished in Tan leather with a tan convertible top. The side spear trims were deleted in homage to the GT Speedsters and for a clean look, and both the front and rear bumper guards were deleted. As with all Concours restorations we perform, all of the components were stripped and refinished with the correct plating or finish, and all of its mechanical components were rebuilt. Following its restoration, it earned a PCA 1st place Performance Division Street Modified win in full Concours with 295.1 points (Zuffenhausen Award). Chassis #86634 has been driven occasionally over the years by its most recent owner, including on longer rallies such as the Colorado Grand. It has been regularly maintained by our service team and presents in exceptional mechanical and aesthetic condition today.
In six years of production, Porsche built a total of 4,854 356 Speedsters, less than 20 percent of total 356 production. With a total production of less than half of that, and an estimated 300 factory-ordered Super examples, chassis #86634 is a unique example of one of the rarest single-year 356 variants ever to leave the production line.
Factory ordered with the 1600 Super Engine option
Original, numbers matching engine and gearbox
Date-stamped Rudge knock-off wheels
Numbers-Matching opening panels (stamped with last three digits of the VIN #634)
Color changed from Meissen Blue to Auratium Green (both 59′ colors)
Side spear trim delete
Front and rear bumper guard delete
2009 Porsche Club of America National Parade Performance Street Modified Division Winner
2009 Porsche Club of America National Parade Zuffenhausen Achievement Award (295.1 concours points out of 300)
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