Three owners/12,950 miles from new
1954 PORSCHE 356 'PRE-A' 1500 SUPER COUPE
Registration No. ANT 999 (Australia)
Chassis No. 51764
Engine No. P 40701
Mist blue with light beige vinyl upholstery
Engine: horizontally-opposed four cylinder, air cooled, 1,582cc 55bhp at 4400rpm; Gearbox: four speed manual; Suspension: independent front with rear swing axle; Brakes: four-wheel hydraulic drums with cooling fins; Right hand drive.
If ever there was a car that spawned a whole generation of motoring success, then the Porsche 356 must be considered. From a humble yet pure beginning, the 356 story is all success and the fact that the Porsche name is so revered today owes much to the classic model that started it all. Among collectors, the early model 356s are highly prized as they encompass all of the fundamental basics that a sports car should have: novel (for the time) chassis construction, independent suspension, a flat 'boxer' engine, air cooled and at the rear, all housed under a simple, clean, practical design.
This gem of an example of the first series Porsche 356 has a fascinating history from new, in that it was originally a special order for Mrs Anthony Hordern III, wife of Mr Anthony Hordern of the well known Sydney (Australia) department store of that name. The intention was that the Porsche would be used at the Sydney social event of the year in 1954, the Baillieu-Hordern wedding. Mrs Hordern asked the main Porsche distributor, Norman Hamilton, to send the factory an order for the new car to be supplied and painted in the exact same colour as the pale blue wedding dress, hat and co-ordinate of the bridesmaids' wear! Indeed, pinned to the original order form were cuttings from both the dress and the hat for the factory to match.
Naturally Stuttgart responded admirably and the new 356 arrived in July 1954 almost on the eve of the wedding. After a pre-delivery service at the Melbourne workshops, Mr Norman Hamilton himself delivered the car in Sydney to Mrs Hordern. A letter on file dated November 1972, written and signed by Mr Hamilton, accompanies the car's sale and confirms this lovely story. It goes on to say that on numerous occasions during the subsequent years he called upon the Horderns, Mrs Hordern informed him that she had remained the only driver of the Porsche and in fact she also insisted on always washing it herself. Mostly she and her husband used their other chauffeur-driven car for general use. The Porsche was subsequently purchased in 1979 by main Porsche dealer John Newell for his private collection, where it joined three other 356s. The car was purchased by Mr Katter for his collection in 1991.
Without doubt the Porsche is a time warp in terms of condition and originality. The mist blue paintwork appears to be largely original and has mellowed with age, and at some time, probably when it went to John Newell, some repainting was undertaken as this is noticeable to the bonnet and engine lid. The original Reutter Karosserie coachwork is unblemished and very straight with excellent shut lines. The doors close with ease as though the car rolled off the production line yesterday. The interior is quite delightful, with light beige vinyl trim to the seats and doors with matching headlining and carpet. All of the instrumentation is in working order. A Telefunken MW/FW push button radio is fitted and the car has two of its original pieces of leather luggage, one shaped for the front which fits neatly between the petrol tank and spare wheel, while the other suitcase sits on the folding rear shelf seats within the car. It also has its original Hazet tourist tool kit in metal case, believed complete save for pliers.
The engine bay is dry and clean and as far as is known, the motor has never been taken out of the car. The original service book shows just the first service! With such a low recorded mileage, as one would expect the car was not driven extensively by Christie's Staff but on a short test drive it performed without fault. The mileage showing now is a fraction under 13,000 and it is very conceivable that this example is the lowest mileage, bent-screen, Pre A Porsche 356 anywhere in the world. The car comes with a New South Wales, Australia registration document attesting to ANT 999 (the car is not UK registered), original handbook, service book, accompanying letter from Mr Hamilton of Porsche distributors and a copy of Australian Sports Car World Quarterly January/March 1982, with an article also confirming the superb history. Early model 356s are extremely coveted by enthusiasts of the marque and to find one with such an impeccable history, low mileage and in undisturbed condition is extremely rare today.