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Porsche 356A 1600 Carrera GS Coupe Reutter 1959


Porsche 356A 1600 Carrera GS Coupe Reutter 1959

Coachwork by Reutter

Chassis no. 105578
Engine no. P93047

1,587cc DOHC Flat 4-Cylinder Engine

2 Dual-throat Solex Carburetors
103.5bhb at 6,500rpm
4-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Independent Suspension 
4-Wheel Drum Brakes

*Matching numbers example

*One of approximately 225 Carrera coupes produced
*Eligible for exclusive vintage rallies 
*One of the most collectible Porsches ever produced
*Offered with a Kardex copy


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. 

Although detuned from its specialized racing counterpart, this 4-cam motor is truly the star of the show on this model. 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. 


Seen here is a beautiful 1959 Porsche Carrera 1600 GS coupe. Incredibly well preserved, the vehicle is an all numbers matching car. Body panels, completed by Reuter, bear the correct 578 number throughout from the engine lid to the hood. The rare 692/2 specification motor and transmission also show the correct numbers, a detail not often seen with the 4-cam powered Porsches, and the complete unit was methodically refreshed by Billy Doyle. A masterful restoration has ensured the vehicle presents in wonderful condition. The panels are straight, and the shut lines fit together very clean. Splendid Ruby Red paint finished by Kristen Rillios of Seattle Washington provides the coupe with an elegant look. Inside, the black leather interior presents just as well as the exterior of the vehicle. Overall, the superb condition and original drivetrain components make this a special Porsche indeed.

Equipped from the factory with some special GT options, an attractive 400mm wood-trimmed steering wheel ornaments the dash nicely, while GT brakes further the sporting nature of the coupe. Under the hood, a much larger 80-liter fuel tank allows for long distance running at rallies or extended track time. 

Captain Ed Hartenberger of the U.S. Air Force ordered the car in December of 1958 from legendary Japanese Porsche distributor Mitsawa Motors while stationed in Japan. Unfortunately, Porsche was behind on their production of the desirable Carrera 356 competition cars, so Captain Hartenberger made the trip to the Porsche factory to parley with the executives in order to obtain the vehicle just ahead of his in the production line. This trip proved to be fruitless, and the vehicle was eventually completed. After taking factory delivery, Captain Hartenberger would enjoy touring his new Porsche around Europe until 1961 when the coupe traded hands to a fellow officer nearing a transfer back stateside. After the car accompanied the military man on his way home, several new owners would follow over the span of 30 years. The first of which was a Washington dentist named Gig Harbor. Then, Ralph Rigsby of Salt Lake City would continue to tour the car around the car around the Pacific northwest. A prominent Carrera enthusiast named Rusty Ferrel would be the next in line before Steve Terrien took ownership in 1985. Under his care the car received a ground up restoration in the 1990s resulting in the current superb state of the vehicle. By the early 2000s, the red Carrera was owned by well-known West Coast collector, William 'Bill' Grimsley, before being acquired by East Coast collector David LeBrun. Most recently, the Carrera was inspected by noted Porsche specialist Prescott Kelly, who did a compression and leak down test, and confirmed the car is matching numbers.

A combination of rarity and numbers matching makes 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. The Carrera is verified by a copy of the original Kardex and must be the best example on the market today.


Porsche 356A 1600 Carrera GS Coupe Reutter 1959


SOLD US$ 632,000


  • Model: Porsche 356A 1600 Carrera GS Coupe Reutter
  • Year: 1959
  • Coachbuilder: Reutter
  • Nr produced: +/- 225
  • Seller: Bonhams
  • Country: USA
  • Contact: www.bonhams.com
  • Auction: Bonhams Amelia Island Auction
  • Auction date: 08 March 2018
  • Ad creation date: 23 February 2018
  • Tags: 1959, Bonhams, coupe, Porsche, Reutter


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