1956 Porsche 356A 1500 Carrera GS Coupe
Coachwork by Reutter
Chassis no. 56118
Engine no. 90702 (see text)
1,498cc DOHC Flat 4-Cylinder Engine
2 Dual-throat Solex Carburetors
100bhb at 7,200rpm
4-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*One of the most collectible Porsches ever produced
*Eligible for highly exclusive vintage rallies and concours events
*High-revving 4-Cam 356 with exceptional driving characteristics
*Very authentic example, documented by Kardex, COA and FIVA passport
THE CARRERA GS 1500
Originally introduced at the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show, the 356 Carrera was the first edition of Porsche's long-running prestige performance car, featuring a special race-bred engine in development since 1952. Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann was tasked with determining just how much power the classic Porsche flat-four motor could develop, and in this pursuit he made some fundamental engineering adjustments over the basic pushrod engine. These modifications included the addition of twin ignition, two twin-throat carburetors, and dry-sump lubrication. The most important development, however, was the implementation of dual overhead camshafts. With precision and reliability being the two main goals for an engine destined for competition, normal chain or belt driven timing was curbed and a complex system of shafts and bevel gears kept the valves moving instead. The intricacy of the system makes assembly a rather time intensive activity, but it proved worthwhile in the end.
The 550's originally fitted with this motor were true giant killers. The proven combination of light weight and supreme power proved to be immense advantage over the heavier, larger displacement opposition and allowed the nimble racers to carve up the competition all across Europe. Victories were scored at famous events such as the 1000km of Nürburgring and even the notorious Targa Florio. With many private owners of the 550 being able to drive to the tracks, compete, and then arrive home all in the same car, the reliability of the dual cam engine proved useful enough for road use.
Porsche factory staff arrived at a similar conclusion and began to test the engine as an alternative to the pushrod motor in their own personal cars. Eventually determining that the 356-based road car was the most opportune platform for the type 547/1 engine, Porsche used the Frankfurt show to debut the Carrera, which was named for the famously grueling Mexican road race at which Porsche had dominated the 2-liter class. From the factory, the full range of 356s body styles, Coupe, Cabriolet and the open Speedster, could be ordered as Carreras. However, only 225 of these Coupes were produced during the initial production run, making them a rare sight on the roads. The motor even allowed the 356 to further remain a competent racer on the track with many owners taking part in motorsport events in anything from near stock examples to fully specified race cars. Porsche would continue to produce the Carrera throughout the various generations of 356, eventually increasing the displacement all the way up to 2 liters.
The 4-cam motor is truly the star of the show on the legendary 356 Carrera models. Delivering an approximate 100 horsepower, it is a delight to wring out all the way to its 7,500 rpm redline. Porsche, seeking to deliver the most well-rounded car they could, also fitted wider tires, and with increased power and a well sorted chassis, the Carrera models make for unique and desirable Porsche driving experience.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
The rare and desirable 356 Carrera available here - chassis no. 56118 - is one of the earlier 1500 GS spec Carreras, the letters standing for 'Grand Sport.' The new Carrera Coupe left the Porsche factory on April 5th, 1956.
This Carrera had spent a large portion of its life within the well-known Rene Mauries collection. After 20-odd years, the car left France in 2001 for Italy where it was picked up by Sig. Vincenzo Di Leo. His short ownership ended in 2002 when Enrico Consoli of Brescia acquired the car for his own collection. Under his care the car received a thorough restoration to the state in which it sits today and also a FIVA identity passport. Consoli let go of the Porsche in 2014 when another Porsche enthusiast exchanged the car for his 911 Carrera RS 2.7. The current owner - a lifelong San Diego, California based Porsche enthusiast - has treated the rare Carrera to additional care in the way of continued inspections and maintenance. Invoices dated within the last year show a new battery being installed and the transaxle received fresh oil. The cam covers were also given some attention with the studs being cleaned and refitted in order to prevent oil weeping.
Presented in the splendid code 535 Silver Metallic (just like the car is believed to have left the Zuffenhausen-based factory over 60 years ago) the Carrera looks appropriate and correct. A look inside will reveal the well-maintained interior with blue Rexin leatherette, and door cards and dashboard knobs believed to be original to the car. Generally, this holds true as a theme of the car, as noted by Porsche expert Taylor K Shannon who inspected to the car in May 2017, "Overall this is a great example of a very rare model that still retains a lot of originality." His findings concluded that the car was fitted with the correct type 547/1 Carrera GS engine, although it is not the original unit the car left the factory with from new. The motor found in the car today - stamped 90702 - is believed to had originally started its life in 356A Carrera GS Speedster chassis no. 82031. The transmission, however, is the matching numbers unit installed by Porsche in the 1956. Further close inspection of this exceptional Carrera GS Coupe reveals that the front bonnet, rear engine cover, and both the drivers and passenger doors are stamped with the last two or three digits of the chassis number, indicating that they are the original factory installed components.
This rare and desirable Carrera GS Coupe is offered with a substantial history file, containing a copy of the original Kardex built sheet, the Porsche issued Certificate of Authenticity, and the aforementioned FIVA Passport. The Carrera 356 is by most considered the best of the breed. A combination of rarity and originally make this particular example a must-have for any Porsche enthusiast, and eligibility in any number of classic motorsport and rally events internationally only sweeten the deal further.