$362,500 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
- One of only 248 ‘twin grille’ roadsters built
- Fully restored in its stunning color combination
- Matching-numbers drivetrain
- Presented at the 2018 Hilton Island Concours d’Elegance; Palmetto Award winner
- Includes copy of Kardex and Porsche Certificate of Authenticity
The 356 B ‘Twin Grille’ Roadster ranks among the most coveted models sought out by Porsche cognoscenti. These extremely rare T-6 roadsters, of which only 248 were built, mark the high point of 356 Speedster and Roadster development.
These Porsche roadsters were the direct descendants of the iconic 356 Speedster. The speedster was succeeded by the more civilized Convertible D built by Drauz in 1959. The D offered a new, taller, but still removable windshield, wind-up windows, conventional coupe seats rather than the speedster’s thin shells, and a more modern canvas folding top. The Convertible D was replaced in 1960 by the roadster. The roadster’s freshened body design, designated T-5, featured new front-end sheet metal, different doors, improved bumpers, and a flatter hood. With the phase-out of the Convertible D, Drauz concentrated on building the new roadster.
The T-5 models were produced between September 1959 and August 1961, and the new T-6 design from September 1961 until roadster production ended in July 1963. The T-5 roadsters built by Drauz have a single ventilation grille on their engine lids, while the T-6 cars are easily identified by a flatter hood and relocation of the gas filler to the top of the right front fender. To clear its assembly lines for the soon-to-be-launched 356 C, Porsche sent its remaining T-6 roadsters to D’Ieteren, its Belgian distributor, for completion. These roadsters can be immediately spotted by their unique twin grilles in the engine lid.
Its factory Kardex notes that this beautiful numbers-matching D’Ieteren-bodied roadster was delivered in December 1961 to its first owner, Martina Lawrence, through the Parisienne agency Sonauto. The 356 was nicely optioned with chromed steel wheels and crested hubcaps, a pair of fog lamps, and an alloy-framed, wood-rimmed steering wheel. Ms. Lawrence is believed to have been the wife of a successful Boston-area architect and preservationist, and it can be safely assumed that this car was thereafter shipped to the U.S.
Documents accompanying the car indicate that around 1989, it was acquired from New England by Wayne Baker in San Diego, California, who restored it over a three-year period. In 1999, it was purchased by the Hampton family of Palm Springs, who had Paul Lighthill overhaul the 75-horsepower ‘Super’ engine in 2001. A decade later, the car was sold to a collector in Dallas, Texas. More recently the car was purchased by the current owner, with the goal of returning it to its original form. Invoices from marque specialist Eurowerks of Campbell, Texas, detail extensive work over 2017 and 2018, including reconversion to original six-volt electrics and a complete repaint in the fall of 2018.
The fresh Bali Blue paint over Gray leatherette present well. There is correct blue-gray square-weave carpeting with new rubber floor mats. A fully lined blue canvas top and matching boot complete the package. This wonderful example displayed approximately 97,000 miles at the time of cataloguing and is supplied with five correctly dated chromed wheels, spare tire, jack, and owner’s manual. Documentation from the last 30 years includes registrations, service, and restoration receipts, as well as the Hamptons’ 356 Registry membership. Most recently, the roadster was presented at the Hilton Island Concours d’Elegance in 2018, in celebration of Porsche’s 70th anniversary, where it received a coveted Palmetto Award.
Perfect for club-level concours as well as enjoyable weekend touring, this fine D’Ieteren ‘twin grille’ would make an excellent addition to any collection of early and unusual Porsches.