Porsche 356A 1500GS Carrera
Auto racing enthusiasts are enthralled by the mystique of La Carrera Panamericana, the famous long-distance Mexican road race, which was held in the 1950s, with the final event taking place in 1954. Porsches were entered in the races in 1952, 1953 and 1954, the first two years in private hands. In 1953 and 1954, the factory entered a pair of cars in each race. Remarkably, in 1954, the Stuttgart firm posted 1-2 class wins and a third and fourth overall, behind 4.5- and 4.9-litre Ferraris. To celebrate this milestone, Porsche introduced a special car, the 100 bhp Carrera. It made its first appearance in a considerably revised and updated 356, termed the 356A at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1955.
The 1500 GS power plant was a detuned version of the competition four-cam motor originally developed for Porsche’s 550 Spyder. Work began in 1952, when Ferry Porsche, Karl Rabe and Dr Ernst Fuhrman (chief engineer) were testing the potential of the air-cooled boxer engine. The engine passed its initial tests with flying colours and was immediately installed in the 550 Spyder for racing duty. The new 1500 GS Carrera would take the engine to the streets.
The Carrera also received enhancements brought across the entire 356 range for 1956, including chassis modifications resulting from track experience acquired with the 550 Spyder. To improve road handling and driving comfort, the 356 featured a more supple suspension with larger shock absorbers and improved stop blocks. The most powerful of the 356s, the Carrera offered an additional 20 horsepower and a top speed of nearly 200 km/h. Externally, it looked virtually the same as any other Porsche, apart from the tell-tale “Carrera” in gold lettering on the rear engine cover. At $5,995, however, it was more than double the price of a Corvette, which led to its limited production numbers and consequent rarity.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in May of 2012 at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.
100 bhp, 1,498 cc four-cam rear-mounted opposed air-cooled flat-four engine, independent front suspension with torsion bars, anti-roll bar, trailing arms and telescopic shock absorbers, independent swing axle rear suspension with torsion bars and telescopic shock absorbers, and front and rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,100 mm (82.7")
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Tom Wood