This rare Pre-A 356 was an American barn find discovered last year. Restoration firm Vehicle Experts are to bring it back to life.
Investing in collectable classic cars has become more and more popular over the past few years with these historic machines proving better investments than artwork, or even gold in some cases. As a result, vehicles once deemed ‘too far gone’ for restoration are now worth the energy and expertise required to return them to the road. This 1955 Porsche 356 Pre-A has clearly lived a hard life up until now, but we discovered its story on the Vehicle Experts stand at Retro Classics 2019.
Surrounded by the smartphone paparazzi, this 64 year-old survivor presented quite a shocking sight to visitors of the show. Amongst pristine examples of the German sports car, this 356 'bent window' with its plentiful rust, copious amounts of body filler, and absent rear quarter section, certainly lead a different life to its siblings.
This Porsche was discovered in an American barn, a shelter it had called home for many decades. Its complete backstory is still being researched, but it’s believed that this Pre-A model was used as a racing car. Looking at its crushed and twisted panels on the driver’s-side, it’s a safe bet that its motorsport career ended with a crash before being stored and forgotten about.
Its distressed and flaking bodywork has been ravaged by the sands of time, creating a textured onionskin effect to its surface. The interior is absent except for the ghostly framework of a seat and a few pieces insulation. This car is a fascinating thing to look at, with every square inch telling an intricate story leading to this moment in time.
Obviously, this car will need some serious tender loving care if it has any hope of surviving into the future. That’s where Otto Olar and Vehicle Experts come in…
Otto explained that Vehicle Experts acquired this Pre-A 356 last year with the aim of restoring it back to original factory specification. Using the car’s surviving chassis number, the Hungarian company have obtained a copy of the 356’s original build sheet that details exactly how the car left the factory back in 1955.
In its prime the car was Adria Blue with a grey leather interior — a far cry from its patchwork state today. The Porsche’s restoration process will begin with a total disassembly before the bodywork is sandblasted back to bare metal. Vehicle Experts have in-house engineers, metal workers, and upholsterers who can fabricate the required parts. The labour intensive process is expected to take around 15 months and will be completed by hand.
The Porsche 356 was the marque’s first production car and is divided into four distinct variations over the generation. Pre-A, A, B, and C cars are defined by the continuous improvements made by Porsche throughout the model’s life. Pre-A models, such as this car, are highly collectable due to them being the earliest examples of Porsche’s first sports car. This example was built on March 1955 making it one of the very last Pre-A models.
Vehicle Experts was established in 2004 and specialises in the restoration of classic Porsches. The company has completed many cars over its 13-year history so far, but this 356 will be one of the most challenging. Around 30 employees with diverse skillsets turn back the clock on these often forgotten pieces of automotive history.
For those curious about this fascinating Pre-A Porsche 356, it is currently for sale. Interested parties have two options that will allow its new owner to choose how the sports car is preserved. $84,000 (€75,000) will buy you the car as it stands today, appealing to those who love patina and the historical sculpture of this car’s current state. Alternatively, for $247,000 (€220,000) Vehicle Experts will return the 356 to its original specification before handing its new owner the keys.
This Porsche represents a great band find, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for this 356.