Having commenced manufacture with a short run of aluminum-bodied cars built at Gmund, Porsche began volume production of the steel-bodied 356 coupe at its old base in Stuttgart. The work of Ferry Porsche, the 356 was based on the Volkswagen designed by his father. Like the immortal Beetle, the 356 employed a platform-type chassis with rear-mounted, air-cooled engine and torsion bar all-independent suspension. In 1951 a works car finished first in the 1100-cc class at the Le Mans 24-Hour Race, thus beginning the marque’s long and illustrious association with Le Sarthe.
Constant development saw the 356’s engine grow first to 1.3 and then to 1.5 liters; the original split windscreen replaced by a one-piece; and a Porsche synchromesh gearbox adopted. 1955 marked the arrival of the 356A, the newcomer being readily distinguished by its rounded windscreen and 15-inch (down from 16-inch) wheels. There was a choice of 1.3- or 1.6-liter engines, or the four-cam Carrera. Production lasted until 1959 and the introduction of the 356B, by which time a little fewer than 21,000 had been built.
Originally registered in England, this right hand-drive 356A Cabriolet subsequently relocated to Northern Ireland where its owner was Lady Berry, and was purchased by ex-McLaren Formula One driver John Watson in 1989. We are informed that, apart from a replacement engine, the car has no departures from original specification, and comes with factory hardtop. Finished in blue with beige cloth interior, the car is offered for complete restoration and without documents.