1960 Porsche 356B 1600 £100,000

1960 Porsche 356B 1600 £100,000

This fully restored rust-free US-import 356 is completely perfect. But, as Richard Gunn asks, is it too good to use?


A lot of money for something not that far removed from a Beetle? This, though, is real early Porsche purity. And it’s in beautiful order, cosmetically and mechanically – all it seems to need is the rear badge fixing more securely and the vibrating brakes attending to.


1960 Porsche 356B Coupe 1600

With just 60bhp to play with, this one definitely feels more akin to the German people’s car than Porsche’s later turbocharged rockets. That said, it’s frisky and enthusiastic and, in this particular case, perfectly tuned. The light weight (about 900kg) means acceleration is good, accompanied by the thrash of the air-cooled engine from behind, and the steering is accurate via the very large wheel. The gearbox is a little vague, but it’s only reverse that can be a bit tricky to locate sometimes. Brakes – all drums – are effective, but we did detect pulsing through the pedal when applied hard.


1960 Porsche 356B 1600 £100,000

When new, this 356 was sold in California and had further homes in Texas and Florida before coming to the UK in 2014. It then received a nut-and-bolt, photographically chronicled restoration costing between £70k and £80k. That was at circa 58,000 miles. Since then, it’s only done about 2000 miles.


1960 Porsche 356B 1600 £100,000

It’s in superb order throughout – the Ruby Red paint is vibrant, consistent and free from any significant marks. All the chrome is sparkling. Indeed, the only real fault we could find is a slightly ill-fitting rear Porsche badge.


1960 Porsche 356B Coupe 1600 - engine

The Michelin XAS tyres have done just a couple of thousand miles and still look good – but they’re date-stamped 2015. Its globetrotting means its 59,814 miles can’t be verified, but a large file of paperwork contains its original workshop manual and brochures, a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity, and a fully photographed and documented restoration.


1960 Porsche 356B Coupe 1600 - interior

With its painted-metal dash, floor-mounted pedals and huge, upright steering wheel that only just clears your thighs, the Beetle feel continues inside, albeit with a dash of claustrophobia that inevitably comes from being in a small, low-slung coupé. Everything is in excellent condition and largely true to original spec, although there are seatbelts for the occasional flip-up rear bucket seats plus a St Christopher medal attached to the facia, which looks suitably old. Below it is a Blaupunkt push-button radio, which also appears to date back to the car’s earliest days. The black leather upholstery, carpets and door cards give the impression of being virtually new.

Aside from a little bit of dust, grime and some minor areas of surface corrosion on components, the rear engine bay is generally clean and tidy, and, importantly, looks oil-tight. It’s all very compact, with the fan shroud framed by twin Zenith carburettors. Everything looks stock, with bonus points for the information stickers still in place on the air and fuel filters, coil and fan shroud. The Porsche started easily and ran well from cold. Underneath, it has been comprehensively undersealed, and there are no signs of any problems. Thing is: could you use it while keeping it in its current condition? It’s a big ask.

Ex-US car with an £80k restoration behind it Original fittings combine with as new finish inside Engine bay is clean, with all the right stickers.


CHOOSE YOUR PORSCHE 356

  • The first car to be marketed as a Porsche, the 356 emerged from the Gmünd, Austria factory in 1948; VW-based with a 1.1-litre flat-four and intended largely for motor sport.
  • The range was broadened in 1951 with a cabriolet and a choice of 1.1- and 1.3-litre engines. The 1.1 was dropped from 1953.
  • Lightweight low-drag Speedster version created for US market from 1954.
  • 356A from 1955 introduced 1.6-litre engine and quad-cam Carrera option for racing.
  • 365B in 1959 had twin-grille rear. Karmann-designed notchback available in 1961-2.
  • 356C introduced alongside the new 911 in 1964 as an entry-level model with disc brakes all round. Replaced by 912 in 1965.

TECHNICAL DATA 1960 Porsche 356B

  • Price £100k Contact Greenside Cars, Holt, Norfolk (01263 713362, greensidecars.com)
  • Engine 1582cc horizontally opposed four-cylinder, ohv
  • Max Power 60bhp @ 4500rpm
  • Max Torque 81lb ft @ 2800rpm
  • Top speed 96mph
  • Acceleration 0-60mph 16.5sec
  • Fuel consumption 26-34mpg
  • Length 4010mm
  • Width 1670mm
  • Height 1290mm
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