Beautiful Porsche classics up for auction at Goodwood
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A selection of 10 rare and significant Porsches are among 67 sought-after classic cars being auctioned by Bonhams during the Goodwood Festival of Speed next weekend.
First up is one of the all-time great Porsches, a 1957 356A Carrera Speedster GS/GT, which is estimated to fetch £900,000 to £1,000,000 (NZ$1.166–1.3 million). Between 1955 and 1959, only 152 or so Carrera Speedsters were produced, and the one being offered at Goodwood is one of only three right-hand drive examples.
The origins of the Carrera Speedster date back to 1954, when a young engineer in Porsche’s competition department put a four-cam Carrera engine into a modified 356 Coupé. The vehicle won the Liège-Rome-Liège rally, one of the toughest such events in Europe, and Porsche realised that it had created something special.
Dr Ernst Fuhrmann was that engineer. The 1,500cc engine he designed had aluminium pistons, cylinders and cylinder heads. The addition of twin overhead camshafts per bank, along with other improvements, meant that it developed almost 110bhp, double the power of the existing 1,500cc push-rod engine.
In the featherweight 356, this engine gave a top speed of 120mph and 0-60mph acceleration in 11 seconds. The Carrera name, taken from the gruelling Mexican road race in which Porsche had dominated the 2.0-litre class, was added and the car made its debut at the 1955 Frankfurt motor show. The rest, as they say, is history.
This example was delivered new to Australia where it had three owners before being laid up in a barn for several years. It was restored in 1982, the next owner adding the engine from the fourth GT Speedster to leave the Porsche production line, although he changed the original bright red paintwork for a more sober silver.
In 2014, the car underwent a meticulous restoration to bring it to its current exceptional condition, during which it was returned to its original colour. With a string of awards from concours across the world, the auction house suggests that this has to be one of the most desirable Porsche 356s available.
Bonhams will also offer what is widely considered to be the ultimate version of the long-running 911 series. The 1973 Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera RS Lightweight, estimated at £750,000-£850,000, is one of only 19 Lightweights out of a total of 111 Carrera RS models made in right-hand drive, although such is the car’s legendary status that many a replica has been produced over the years.
Porsche managed to lose about 100kg from the car by ditching anything that was superfluous to the need for speed, including the rear seats, armrests and even the clock. The weight reduction improved the handling, acceleration and braking of what was already an impressive machine, making it a favourite with racing drivers for both road and track use.
Originally sold in Belfast, the car being sold at Goodwood took part in several Irish rallies and its sporting career continued after it came to mainland Britain in 1974.
A two-year restoration was carried out in the late Nineties, restoring it to its original specification, with an engine rebuild at the turn of the century.
Other stand-out Porsche 911s in the sale include a 2010 977 GT2 RS that’s estimated to fetch £290,000 to £340,000; a 1993 964 Turbo X88 (£250,000-£300,000); and a 1967 Porsche 911 S (£240,000-£280,000). There’s also a 356 Speedster from 1955, estimated at £250,000-£300,000.
My favourite, however, is a 1978 911 (Type 930) Turbo Coupé formerly owned by Peter Sellers, estimated to fetch £60,000 to £80,000. Surely a small price to pay for a fantastic car once driven by a comedy genius.