1963 Porsche 356 GS/GT Coupe

Porsche had great success racing 356 Carreras in many different venues. In 1961 at Sebring, Porsche had two class wins with the Carrera 2: the GT class with Ben Pon and Joe Buzzetta, and the Prototype class with Don Webster and Bruce Jennings. After Joe Buzzetta’s win, he remarked of the Carrera: “If I had a choice of any one of the Porsches I’d raced to keep for a road car, it would be that one.”

The Carrera engine was by far the most technologically advanced powerplant produced by Porsche for the 356. As the Carrera engine not only added more power but was heavier as well, Porsche asked Reutter to build a series of lightweight bodies, which resulted in the GT designation.

The extra power and tail-heavy weight distribution made this a demanding car to drive. The plain-bearing 2-liter engine would happily rev past 7,500 rpm, but Porsche warned customers against exceeding 6,500 for a long period due to excessive fuel consumption and engine wear.

The stunning and rare example pictured here is finished in silver with lightweight blue competition seats, plexiglass windows and a factory-fitted roll bar. Weight-saving modifications of the GT body include aluminum hood, doors, deck lid and deletion of the radio and heater. With 44,000 miles from new, there are less than 500 miles since a complete rebuild. It is totally original except for the paint and some carpeting.

This example’s original type 587/2 160-bhp GT engine was replaced at the factory with a 587/3 904-spec engine in April 1964, as noted on the factory Kardex. This 180-bhp 904-spec power plant remains in the car today. It has recently had a tune-up by well-known four-cam expert Bill Doyle. All numbers match the Kardex for this Carrera, including the 904 engine upgrade.

Richard Freshman purchased the completely original car in 1986. His goal was to preserve this exotic piece of Porsche history, and he worked with well-known 356 expert and historian Ron Roland to do so. This example is eligible for the popular Tour Auto Retrospective.

In 1960, Uli Wieselmann wrote: “Already an enthusiast’s carriage of the first magnitude, the Carrera will one day be found only in a few isolated examples in the hands of real connoisseurs. They’ll care for it, polish it, and drive it amongst everyday cars secure in the knowledge that they possess a product of technical delicacy that’s enveloped in romance. No matter how perfect, refrigerators and typewriters can never so aspire.”