The Last Porsche 356 Convertible D Goes to Auction
The Porsche 356A Convertible D (“D” standing for Drauz, the coachbuilder) is arguably the rarest “production” Porsche 356 model ever manufactured for a full year. Only 1,331 Convertible Ds were made between August 1958 and September 1959. By 1958, the Speedster model was four years old and sales were declining. Overall sales of Porsches were growing, and Ruetter, Porsche’s primary coachbuilder, was straining to keep up with demand. Porsche contracted with Karosseriewerke Drauz in Heilbronn to manufacture bodies for the replacement for the Speedster. This 1959 Porsche 356 Convertible D is the last of the 1,331 produced and an ideal example of Drauz’s work.
This 356 was purchased by a resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado, who took delivery of the car at the Porsche factory through the tourist delivery program. The original owner enjoyed driving his Convertible D throughout Europe. The Kardex shows the car was serviced in both Switzerland and Italy before being imported into the U.S. through Max Hoffman’s New York dealership. Once in Colorado, the Convertible D was a cherished member of the original owner’s family. The 356 was used for family drives, as well as the occasional gymkhana event. Ultimately, the 356 was sold and made its way to an owner in Monterey, California. This owner used the 356 as a weekend car as well. The next owner, a well-known 356 aficionado, jumped at the chance to own the last Convertible D produced when it became available in 2014. The present owner, no stranger to the Porsche marque, acquired the 356 in 2016.
While the 356 was always a running, driving car, the present owner believed the Convertible D, being the last car produced of the model, merited a concours-quality restoration. In 2017, the owner made the decision to carry out a no-expense-spared, concours-level restoration on the Convertible D. A Porsche Parade-winning restorer was retained to handle the restoration of the Convertible D. He stripped the paint off of the 356 revealing a solid and original car, with no evidence of accidents with only minimal rust. Additionally, it still retained its matching body panels, each stamped with the number 30. Setting to work, he replaced the floors and longitudinals, as well as the front fender edges. The doors, hood and decklid were all fitted and adjusted to match the factory settings, and the entire car was completely metal finished and primed. An original swatch of period-correct silver paint was sourced and matched, and the whole car was sprayed with Glasurit paint, just as original 356s were in period.
Wanting both a stunning visual car as well as a performer, every mechanical system in the car was fully addressed for functionality and originality. The matching-numbers 1600cc Super engine was rebuilt with original pistons and cylinders, and it uses correct dual Zenith carburetors. The original 716 transaxle was fitted with new syncros and carrier. The rest of the car received the same level of attention to detail; brakes and suspension were rebuilt to factory specs, and all of the car’s hardware was correctly plated and installed. This meticulous care for authenticity ensured that nothing was left to chance in being the best it would be. Parts were replaced when needed, but extra special attention was paid to preserving and restoring as many original parts when possible.
Taking extra care in making sure that the car was extremely period correct, a swatch of original vinyl was matched to obtain the correct color, texture and sheen. Upholstery details unique to the Drauz 356’s were strictly followed, distinguishing the car from its Ruetter brethren. Throughout the entire process items were restored piece by piece, ensuring nothing was overlooked and everything was in concours-presentable condition. Extra attention was paid to ensure all of the Kardex-identified accessories to the Convertible D remain with the car. On the exterior, this 356 retains its side mirror, U.S. bumpers with overriders, and a chrome luggage rack affixed to the decklid. In the interior, the Convertible D retains its comfort seats with recliners, and an extremely rare pair of seat belts.
As one’s eyes study the Convertible D, more and more original details become apparent: both front and rear bumpers are stamped with 830, the last three digits of its VIN; each of the eight bumper irons are also stamped with 830; the restored original hubcaps and hubcap emblems, not new reproductions; the correct logos on all glass; original headlamp lenses with correct markings; and the list goes on. Also included is an original tool kit, restored jack, owner’s manual and Drauz supplement. This Porsche 356 Convertible D is ready for the next owner to show and win on the concours field, or to simply drive and enjoy and will cross the auction block at Mecum’s Monterey sale, August 12-14.