1959 Porsche 356A ***Australian Delivered Factory RHD***
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale an absolutely delightful, Australian delivered, factory right hand drive 1959 Porsche 356 A 1600.
There is a letter on file from Porsche, Germany dated 5th July 1990 confirming this car was manufactured in June 1959 and delivered new through Porsche dealer Hamilton in Australia. The car was delivered with the following specifications: colour: orange (paint code 711), interior: vinyl, optional equipment: green tinted windscreen, right hand drive, hub caps with badge, US bumpers and moldings.
We can confirm that this car retains its original ‘matching numbers’ engine.
The early history of this car is not known. The story starts in 1983, when on the 26th August, ownership of this car transferred from Chris Katos to Andrew McRitchie. There is also a note on file confirming McRitchie purchased the car for the sum of $3,500. At that time the car was carrying the Victorian registration HEA111 but it was sold unregistered with the note it required extensive renovation.
McRitchie decided to restore the car and what followed was an 8 year journey. Importantly, he meticulously documented everything he did. There is a 35 page document on file showing exactly what he did, when he did it and the number of hours he spend doing it! There is also a thick file of receipts. The project started in May 1984 and it was finally finished in October 1992. In total he spend 3,910 hours restoring his Porsche and as the document states, this didn’t include the hours spend by brothers, sisters, father, friends, the paint shop, the machine shop and the time spend on collecting the necessary replacement parts! We have seen many good history files but rarely do we come across a write up as detailed as this. McRitchie was obviously a very detail minded, dedicated and meticulous owner. There is a Vic Roads Certificate of Roadworthiness on file, dated 7th March 1993, at which time the odometer read 45,922 miles.
In December 2006 the current owner acquired the car from McRitchie. At that time the odometer read 49,521 miles. There is a valuation report on file from a week after he purchased the car which states: Vehicle fully restored from ground up, on inspection many restoration photos of the vehicle sighted also, Michelin 165×15” tyres, drivers side mirror, vehicle immaculate condition throughout. The previous owner had clearly cherished his car after he completed the restoration.
The current owner is a real Porsche enthusiast and he has thoroughly enjoyed his 17+ years of ownership of this fabulous 356. He has used the car, travelling just over 22,000 miles in his ownership. The way the car presents today you would think it has travelled only 2,200 miles in his ownership! Today the odometer reads 68,861 miles.
The car has been maintained and regularly serviced by well known and respected classic Porsche specialist McKernan Restoration in Kippa-Ring, Queensland. During one of these services it was noted that the split case gearbox in the car was in very poor condition and in November 2012 the decision was made to replace it with a period correct gearbox from a slightly later model 356A. To make the 356 more reliable and easier to start a electric fuel pump was fitted in January 2015. In September 2020 the carburettors were overhauled. The most recent service was executed in October 2023 and at that time the odometer read 68,030 miles.
Today this car still presents exceptionally well. It has hard to believe that the restoration was completed some 30 years ago. The car is a credit to its current and previous owner, but particularly to the quality of the restoration.
When you first see the car you are immediately charmed by its colour. The blue is truly striking and it really suits the car. It also contrasts perfectly with the tan interior. The paint on the car is generally in a very good condition. This car has been used as its makers intended by both its current and previous owner and as a result there is some light wear and tear evident. There are some stone chips and very small paint imperfections here and there, but you have to look.
The glass on the car is all in excellent condition with no evidence of any cracks, though there are a few very small chips on the windscreen. All the external trim, including the lights and lenses are in good condition.
The painted steel wheels are generally in good condition. There are a few small chips here and there and one or two marks that look to be from balancing weights that were previously fitted. The wheels are shod with Vredestein Sprint Classic tyres, size 165HR15, date stamped 0116 (week 1, 2016). The tyres are still in a good condition.
Open the door and you are presented with a minimalistic, yet very good looking interior. First impressions are good. The seats present well with no cracks or tears in the leather. In the back you find two small seats which appear to have hardly been used, if at all, since the restoration. The door cards present well and even the carpets are in very good condition. The dashboard also presents well. In Australia, the top of the dashboard often gets affected by the harsh sun, but that is not the case here. All the instruments are crisp and clean.
The engine bay presents well. It is neat, clean and tidy. The same can be said for the boot, where you will find the rubber mat, spare wheel and jack.
Sliding in behind the wheel is like putting on your favourite old leather jacket. It just feels ‘right’! The seats are comfortable and still provide ample support. Everything you see is basic, yet that is exactly how you expect it to be. The steering wheel is in excellent condition and is a real feature on these cars.
Once comfortable behind the wheel you ready to go. The starting procedure is simple. This car is fitted with an aftermarket fuel pump and a battery isolator. Switch both on, insert the key into the ignition and turn the ignition on. After allowing the fuel pump a little bit of time to fill the carburettor, turn the key further to start the car. This car still runs its original six volt electrical system and as a result you might think your battery is low on voltage when you crank the engine. However, that is normal and the engine starts easily, even from cold, and the car quickly settles into a smooth idle with that typical air cooled engine sound.
After allowing the engine to warm up, select first gear and away you go!
We were curious to see if this Porsche 356 would drive as good as it looks. Would we be disappointed? The short answer is ‘no’ . . . it drives superbly!
The engine sounds great and it pulls willingly through the rev range. The car just wants to go! The gearbox feels tight and the gear changes are precise and direct. The car feels solid on the road, the steering feels direct and the brakes pull the car up quickly and in a straight line when needed. We did notice that the speedo waves a bit every now and then, especially when you accelerate from low speed. However, once you are at cruising speed it settles and indicates the correct speed. The oil temperature gauge is not working.
This is a very well sorted Porsche 356 A that is just a lot of fun to drive. This is the type of car you can just get in, use and enjoy. There are a few small things one can do to further improve the car but nothing that requires immediate attention.
Accompanying the car is a very good history file, including a detailed restoration dossier, some photographs, a Porsche letter confirming the car’s provenance, a spare wheel and a jack.
- Australian delivered, factory RHD 356 A.
- An older but high quality, meticulous restoration.
- Great colour combination.
- Matching numbers, engine and chassis.
- Very well presented car, ready to use and enjoy.
The Porsche story is a fascinating one and its roots go back to the 1930’s when Professor Ferdinand Porsche was instrumental in the design of the first Volkswagen and also Auto Union race cars. By 1939 he had built three Porsche cars to compete in the 800-mile race from Berlin to Rome. Unfortunately, the race was cancelled due to the war and Porsche was forced to focus on supporting the German war effort, however, he had always wanted to build his own cars. In 1944 Porsche was forced to leave Stuttgart and he set up a small operation in Gmünd, Austria. Soon after the Porsche family and many of their engineers were captured and sent to jail. Ferdinand Porsche’s son. Ferdinand junior, or ‘Ferry’ as he was known, was released six months later and he returned to Gmünd to rebuild the family company. Things moved quickly and Porsche was involved with cars again and in mid-1948 the first Porsche 356 was built. It is understood Porsche built some 50 aluminium bodied cars by hand in their small factory at Gmünd before relocating back to Stuttgart, Germany in 1949.
Instead of building the body of the car himself Porsche decided to collaborate with an old partner, the body manufacturing company Reutter who had both the expertise and infrastructure to mass produce the bodies for the 356 coupe and cabriolet.
Nowadays, the first series of the 356, built from 1948 through until 1955 are known as the 356 Pre A.
In 1955 the 356 A was introduced. The internal factory designation for this model was ‘Type 1’ which was quickly adapted by enthusiasts who referred to the 356 A as the ‘T1’. The 356 A became available as a coupe, cabriolet and a Speedster. Buyers had the choice between a 1,300cc and a 1,600cc engine and later the Super version.
A second revision of the 356 A was introduced early in 1957. It became known as the ‘Type 2’ (or T2). Late 1958 the Speedster was replaced by the Convertible D which was now build by coachbuilder Drauz. Late 1959 the 356 A was replaced by the 356 B.
The 356 remained in production through until 1965 and evolved into one of the most successful sports cars ever built.
- Porsche 356A
- 68,861 miles