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Highly original ’63 Porsche 356B Carrera 2 GS cabriolet tops the million-dollar mark at Bonhams Scottsdale sale

Published in blog.hemmings.com

1963 Porsche 356B Carrera 2 GS cabriolet. Photos courtesy Bonhams.

In 1963, the most expensive Porsche road model one could order from an American dealership was the 356B Carrera 2 GS cabriolet, which carried a sticker price of $7,995. One reason why was the exotic four-cam, 2.0-liter Carrera engine, which produced an impressive 130 hp but took roughly 100 hours to assemble. On January 17, a 1963 Porsche 356B Carrera 2 GS cabriolet, with its original engine and a documented chain of ownership from new, sold for $1.0 million including fees at Bonhams Scottsdale sale.

1963 Porsche 356B Carrera 2 cabrio

Porsche’s open-top lineup for 1963 began with the 356B cabriolet, which sold for $4,523 and came equipped with a 1.6-liter air-cooled flat-four engine, rated at 75 hp at 5,000 rpm. Those with a bit more to spend could specify the S90 engine option, which retained the original’s pushrod design but bumped output to 90 hp at 5,500 rpm, for a price of $5,096. The racing-spec Carrera 2 engine cost another $2,900 above the price of the S90, and Bonhams estimates that just 64 Carrera 2 cabriolets were produced in total from 1963 to ’64.

1963 Porsche 356B Carrera 2 cabrio

This car, chassis 1588183, left the factory in April 1963, finished in Signal Red with a black leather interior. First registered to a German company — Hallreiter & Vieter — the cabriolet sold to its second German owner, H.A. Jansen, in 1965. He’d keep the Porsche for seven years, selling it in 1972 to Werner Kuhn, who kept the 356B until 1978.

1963 Porsche 356B Carrera 2 cabrio

Only then did the car leave Germany, sold to its next owner — Walter Gratemar in Holland. Under his care, the Porsche was stripped to bare metal and repainted in its original Signal Red, a process documented with detailed period photographs. The consigner purchased the car from Gratemar in 1989, and it has been part of a private collection in Denmark since, regularly exercised on tours and at driving events.

1963 Porsche 356B Carrera 2 cabrio

When purchased in 1989, the car’s original Carrera four-cam engine had been replaced with a period- and type-correct example, but the consignor went to the trouble of tracking down and acquiring the factory-installed unit from its Belgian owner. Rebuilt by Carrera expert Armin Baumann, the original engine was used as a display piece until reinstalled in the car in April 2017, before the 356B was sent to Leverkusen, Germany, specialty shop Hapke Original Restauration for a comprehensive mechanical sorting.

1963 Porsche 356B Carrera 2 cabrio

In addition to the original engine, Bonhams states the Carrera was offered with its original leather interior, wooden steering wheel, carpeting, floormats, soft-top, trim, and brightwork.

1972 Maserati Ghibli

1972 Maserati Ghibli SS coupe.

Other lots in the sale’s top 10 included a 1951 Maserati A6G/2000 Spider, which sold for a record-setting $2.755 million; a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing coupe, which sold for $1.10 million; a 1934 Mercedes-Benz 500 K four-passenger tourer, which sold for $830,000; a Frua-bodied 1946 Fiat 1100C Spider, which sold for a record-setting $577,000; a 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 cabriolet, which sold for $362,500; a 1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster, which sold for $362,500; a 1937 Jaguar SS100 2½-Liter roadster, which sold for $329,500; a 1989 Porsche 930 Turbo slant nose cabriolet, which sold for $229,600; and a 1972 Maserati Ghibli SS coupe, which sold for $229,600.

Bonhams claimed a sell-through rate of 90 percent, with total sales of $16.1 million for the single-day auction. For complete results, visit Bonhams.com.