Portola Hotel & Spa
18 - 19 August 2017
Lot 247

1951 Porsche 356 1500 Coupe by Reutter


$1,017,500 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • Rare and lovely early 356; finished in its original colors
  • Retains its original 1500 engine
  • Exceptional concours-quality restoration
  • Class award winner at Hilton Head, Winterpark, and Amelia Island
  • Factory Kardex and Certificate of Authenticity

Soon after the end of the Second World War, the brilliant Ferdinand Porsche began constructing innovative sports cars bearing his family’s name. These sophisticated cars compensated for their lack of outright power with sleek, wind-cheating lines. By March 1951, the firm had completed an astonishing 500 hand-built coupes and cabriolets; by the end of that year, 1,103 units had been built. Porsche’s air-cooled four-cylinder horizontally opposed powerplants had grown to just under 1,500 cc; this improved engine now used more radical cam timing and roller-bearing con-rods to produce about 55 horsepower with a pair of Solex carburetors.

This handsome little coupe, chassis number 11111, was completed 20 December 1951, finished in black and with engine number 30069, which it still retains. Delivered by Raffay in Hamburg, it was regularly serviced by the dealership through 1952. The following year, the car found itself in San Francisco, registered to the late Millard Smith. It is believed that he sold the car circa 1958. Little is known until the mid-1970s, when the Porsche was discovered in an asparagus field. Offered for sale in Porsche Panorama, the car was described as being mostly complete at the time. After several intervening owners, it was sent to Karosserie Ltd. in Virginia in 2006 to begin what would become a comprehensive four-year, documented concours restoration.

After bodywork was completed, the 11111 was repainted its original Black. Autobahn Interiors created elegant new seat covers and trim in Gray-green leather (true to the original color), along with complimentary square-weave German carpeting. The original Ivory plastic steering wheel, instruments, and other controls were properly restored and a new headliner was made. A period-correct Telefunken radio was installed. The original engine, only the ninth 1500 Type 527 production engine made by Porsche, was completely overhauled and a new camshaft and twin-pipe exhaust system sourced. A series-correct transmission was sourced and rebuilt. The steering and brakes were refurbished and a new wiring harness installed.

Today, this wonderful little 356 coupe, which is believed to have just over 50,000 original miles, is offered in stunning condition. In recent years, it has been judged Best in Class and received a Zuffenhausen Award at the 2015 Porsche Parade, and scored class wins at Hilton Head and Winterpark in 2015, and Amelia Island in 2016. It is supplied with a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity, along with a copy of the factory Kardex, correct spare, and tools.

No serious collection of Porsches would be complete without a top-flight early 356; here is the perfect example.