1960 Porsche 356 Coupe (BT5)


  • A fine example of the highly desirable Porsche 356 B “monogrid” T5 model
  • Fully restored to a high standard in around 2008/2009, about 10,000 miles ago
  • In a highly useable condition and reported to offer a fun driving experience 

The Appeal

The 356 became Porsche’s first production car in 1948 with the first 50 or so cars built in Austria before the company relocated to Zuffenhausen, Germany, in 1950. After the move, Porsche sub-contracted steel body manufacture to a company called Rutter. Porsche eventually bought Rutter in 1963 with the Rutter retaining its seat building business and renaming it Recaro. Quite quickly the 356 cemented a worldwide reputation as an agile and well made sportscar, considerably aided by its impressive competition successes.

This 356 enjoyed a well-preserved life in Texas, USA before being bought and imported to Italy. A thorough, bare metal restoration followed to result in the well presented and original looking example we see here today. The owner reports it to be an enjoyable and engaging drive and now ready for its next lucky owner.

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The History and Paperwork

  • Built in Zuffenhausen in roughly halfway through 1960’s 356 1,600cc production
  • This model features the earlier T5 body shell with the single engine cover vent
  • The car was understood to be supplied new to the North American market
  • Little is known of its life in the USA
  • In 2006/07 the 356 was then imported to Italy
  • The current owner purchased the car in 2008
  • A bare metal restoration was subsequently undertaken
  • The car has covered around 10,000 in its current ownership
  • It has been always garaged and diligently maintained during that time
  • The paperwork on hand is a little limited
  • The Italian registration document is present in the name of the owner
  • An original US model tag is also included
  • The chassis and engine numbers are clearly visible and photographed
  • The engine number of 605992 relates to an early 1961 1,600cc unit

The Interior

  • Finished impeccably having benefitted from a sympathetic restoration
  • Retaining the charming originality of the focussed 356 cabin
  • All the important original cabin fittings are present and correct

The Porsche 356’s cabin provides an early object lesson in sports car interior design. It manages to combine a charming minimalism with a high quality of craftsmanship, fixtures and fittings to create something quite special.

The front bucket seats are finished in an attractive deep red hue. They are in excellent condition and are upholstered into vertical, padded box pleats to the central sections. These are finished in a perforated material with the bolsters exhibiting a smooth finish. These seats fold forward to provide access to the occasional rear seats. These are identically trimmed, in an equally good condition and fold forwards to provide additional luggage space.

The rear side panels and door cards are well trimmed in the same deep red material. The door cards feature pleated storage pockets and are populated with quality, chromed door furniture. The black carpets appear to be in excellent condition and are edge bound for enhanced longevity. The front carpets are protected with Porsche emblazoned carpet mats. The light coloured, perforated headlining appears clean and tightly fitted.

The dashboard consists of an upholstered, deep red top roll with a body-coloured steel panel below. This is populated with the signature VDO green on black gauge set. The speedometer is calibrated inn miles as is the odometer. These sit behind the original three spoke machined alloy and Bakelite steering wheel. A non-original but period Autovox radio is fitted.

The luggage compartment in the nose is sufficient for a couple of soft bags but is also home to the spare wheel and tyre, battery, fuel tank and washer fluid bag.

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The Exterior

  • The 356 is finished in white which is understood to be its original factory hue
  • The 356 benefitted from a full, bare metal restoration and respray in 2008
  • Consequently, the Porsche presents in an excellent external condition 

The 356 features a highly aerodynamic shape for the period with a light and compact design helping to make the most of the relatively modest power output. This bodyshell is the earlier T5 iteration which can be recognised by the single engine cover vent.

The white paintwork appears to be untroubled by any significant marks or scratches and seems to be thickly and evenly applied. Every panel exudes a deep shine, and the panel gaps appear to be tight and symmetrical throughout. The chrome work that punctuates the design all appears to be bright, shiny and untarnished. All expected marque and model badges are present. Cabin glass and light lenses seem to be original and in great condition throughout.

The 15-inch steel wheels are chrome finished and seem to be in an excellent, unmarked condition. These are shod in a matching set of Firestone F-560, radial type tyres. The owner rates the interior condition as excellent and notes that the doors don’t currently lock, perhaps just requiring some adjustment.

The Mechanics

  • Fitted with the 44KW 616/1 1,600cc air cooled engine
  • The car has benefitted from a 12-volt conversion and a recently fitted new dynamo
  • Reported to start easily from cold and run very well

Porsche designed the 356’s engine around the engine case they had originally designed for the Volkswagen Beetle. It was heavily modified, of course, with uprated cylinder heads, camshaft, crankshaft and intake and exhaust manifolds. Dual carburettors were fitted and, even in its lowest tune, it produced more than double the power of the VW Beetle.

The engine bay of this example appears highly original and in a good, cared for condition. The inner panels look well finished, straight and solid. The engine number is clearly stamped (and photographed) and corresponds to an early 1961 unit, suggesting it may have been replaced at some point.

The owner reports that the car is a lot of fun to drive with its agile handling drawing special comment. He confirms that the car starts very well from cold and runs very nicely. He does report that some additional effort is sometimes required when starting with a hot engine. Given the car’s drum brakes and lack of servo assistance he mentions that the brakes require heavier inputs than on modern cars but stop the light car effectively.

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With Porsche having built up such a long and illustrious reputation as sports car manufactures, the origin model in this remarkable story will always be a milestone classic car. Porsche were masters at engineering simple, light cars that made the most of their relatively modest power and mundane four-cylinder configuration. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the legendary 356.

This example is a very original looking car both inside and out despite a full restoration in 2008. This restoration has managed to retain the “less is more” ethos of the 356 whilst delivering a car in an excellent overall condition. With a low, original mileage and charm by the bucket load this 356 represents a fine and exciting ownership prospect for the next lucky keeper.

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This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1960
  • Make Porsche
  • Model 356
  • Colour White
  • Odometer 65,911 Miles
  • Engine size 1600
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Veneto
  • Country Italy
Bidding history
4 bids from 3 bidders
  • alvise-•••• €36,000 24/09/23
  • gilbert•••• €35,000 24/09/23
  • Dansko €33,000 24/09/23
  • alvise-•••• €25,000 24/09/23

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