A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
The 356 is acknowledged as Porsche's first production car and was a lightweight and nimble handling rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive, 2-door sports car available in hardtop, Coupe and open configurations. Design innovations continued during the years of manufacture, contributing to its motorsports success and popularity.
The 356B was produced from 1960 to 1963 and saw body changes that included a curved bonnet lid, more rounded wings compared to that of the 356A and new front and rear sheet metal. To comply with US-Federal requirements, the front and rear bumpers were raised and over-riders added. Other key changes were raised headlamps, larger door handles, upgraded brakes and some improvements to the cabin including a new deep-dish steering wheel and deeper front seats. It was offered in coupe, roadster, and cabriolet styles, the cabriolets being quite luxurious vehicles compared to roadsters on offer from other manufacturers of the era as they were equipped with standard leather seats, a thickly padded folding top and other creature comforts. All these variants could be ordered with a choice of three compact and efficient, air-cooled OHV engines: the 60-horsepower Normal, the 75-horsepower Super, and, like the example offered here, the very potent Type 616/7 ‘Super 90’, so named for its peak horsepower at 5,500 rpm.
The Super 90 gained its muscle from a higher-lift camshaft, a 9.1 compression ratio and a pair of larger 40-millimetre Solex PII down-draft carburettors. Engine lubrication was upgraded for better longevity, and a stronger Hausermann clutch package was adopted. With this more powerful engine and a kerb weight of less than 900 kilograms, Super 90s were claimed by the factory to be capable of a 185km/h top speed whilst returning 27 mpg. Large finned-aluminium drum brakes provided more than adequate stopping power.
After importing this 1960 Porsche 356B Super 90 Roadster from the US, the decision was taken to set about a full ground-up, nut and bolt restoration. A specialist body shop stripped the bodywork back to bare metal renewing panels where necessary, however, pleasingly, many of the original panels were good enough to only require remedial attention. Carefully prepared and finished in a number of coats of classic Porsche silver, attention was then turned to the fixtures and fittings. All chrome work was refinished, the interior completely re-trimmed and a new German mohair hood fitted. The dashboard panel and instruments were also overhauled and a new wiring loom fitted. All mechanical work was entrusted to a marque specialist and invoices within the file document a thorough mechanical overhaul including a complete rebuild of the original numbers matching Super 90 engine.
Today, this truly charming 356B Super 90 Roadster presents and performs extremely well. The extensive restoration is supported by detailed invoices and receipts for parts and labour. Fully restored, with basic mechanicals, this little Porsche should only require routine maintenance in the foreseeable future allowing its new owner the opportunity to enjoy the 356 experience in its purest form.