Porsche 356 ‘Pre-A’ (1954)

Porsche 356 ‘Pre-A’ (1954)

It is the grandfather of all modern Porsches and the beginning of one of the world’s leading sports car brands, the Porsche 356. Its classic lines, light weight and charming engine make it one of the most desirable classic sports cars. Of the four different versions built between 1948-1965, especially the oldest, the so-called ‘pre-A’s are the most popular. They are called the purest and are also by far the rarest. The 356 pre-A we have the honour to offer dates back to 1954. In its long life, at some point it received a different, rebuilt engine and gearbox and was restored with a new interior. The car is now in very good condition and ready to drive many new miles.

History of the 356

The story of the 356 begins not in Germany, but in Austria. It was there that Ferdinand ‘Ferry’ Porsche, the son of the famous Ferdinand Porsche, created the first prototypes of what would become the 356. Inspired by other fast cars, he took the technical principles (and much of the components) of the Volkswagen Beetle to create a lightweight, nimble car. The body was designed by Erwin Komenda, who created one of the most iconic car shapes ever produced.

On the 8th of June 1948 the first 356, built in aluminium, drove its first road legal kilometres on the Austrian roads. In the beginning, the small Porsches were little known and only a handful of people from mainly Austria and Germany purchased one. The first two years of production, only 50 cars were built. In 1950 production moved to Zuffenhausen, Germany, where the cars were hand built in steel in stead of aluminium. In 1951 new 1.300 and 1.500 cc engines were introduced, providing considerable more power.

And slowly on, the 356 began to become more popular, both in Europe and America. After a class win in the 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche’s name was well established as a builder of fast, agile sports cars. In total, including the Austrian built cars, a little more then 7.500 356 pre-A’s were built, before they were replaced by the slightly modified series A in 1955. The last 356, series C, was produced in 1966, when it was replaced by the first 911.

Car on offer

The car we offer, chassis number 51999, was built in April 1954 according to ‘standard USA Ausführung’. Executed in black with green leather upholstery, the car was sold in America by the well-known importer Hoffman. The first owner, living in New York, was one Mr. Plummer. Possibly this is the famous actor Christopher Plummer, a well-known lover of Porsche, who indeed lived in New York during this period.

Sometime during the cars stay in America, the original engine and transmission were replaced with a pre-A type 572 1.500 engine with the correct split case transmission. The Porsche moved to France where it was completely restored. It received a gorgeous ‘Ivory’ paintwork and a very stylish interior. The car is still on French numberplates and has recently been fully checked by us.

Although not with its original engine and gearbox, this pre-A is a fine example from the early days of Porsche. Its mechanics are in amazing condition, as well as the interior. The paintwork does show its age in some places, but is overall also in good condition. All in all, a charming and attractive Porsche 356.


Year: 1954
Engine: pre-A type 572 1.500 cc, 60 hp
4-speed manual transmission
Chassis nr. 51999

Price: € 239.000,-