In 1955 Porsche introduced the Carrera variant of it's landmark 356, with the car so-named in honour of the marque's victories in the '52 and '54 editions of Mexico's dangerous and gruelling Carrera Panamerica road race. Initially displacing 1.5 litres, the Carrera engine was a slightly de-tuned version of the 550 Spyder, with dual overhead cams, a roller bearing crank and a dry sump oil system. Giving 100 bhp the car could reach over 120 mph, not bad for 1955! In 1956 the 356 'A' model appeared, benefitting from Porsche's 'T1' improvements. Carefully refined to provide more comfort, luxury and driver response than before, the 356 'A' was noted as being an easier car to drive than it's predecessor. The Carrera four-cam engine was enlarged to 1.6 for 1956 and received a corresponding power up lift to 105bhp. For 1958, constant refinement led to the roller bearing crank changing to a simpler plain-bearing unit. Further improvements for 1958 ("Technisches Programm 2") led to T2 upgrades of type 644 gearbox, better shifter and synchro's in the gearbox and a new steering box, brakes and carburettors. The body shell featured only small detail changes, most noticeably a switch to a pair of attractive, tear-drop shaped tail lamps. This 1958 model year car chassis number 102543 was first delivered on 13/01/1958 as a Carrera 1500cc GS finished in Silver with an 80 litre fuel tank (with a central bonnet re-filler), leatherette 'Speedster' seat, lightweight 'Plexiglass' rear screen and a 'Spyder' rear view mirror. The lucky customer, an enthusiastic racing driver and professional jockey, was Mr Hans Harzheim of Koln, Germany, who raced the car successfully in his home country and is still alive today. He achieved notable results including the AvD Rheinland Pfalz Preis on 03/08/1958, a 5th place at the famous Nurburgring Nordschliefe in the GT 1600cc Class and a win on 05/10/1958 in the Eifelrennen Nurburgring, again in the GT 1600cc Class. In addition he also claimed some notable results in rallying with a win in the Avus Rallye, Berlin in 1958 and 1959 and a third place in the Rallye Lyon-Charbonniere finishing in 3rd place. During 1959 he also came 2nd in the Wolsfelder Hillclimb Rennen (German Hillclimb Championship).
The car and driver were also invited to compete in the Nurburgring ADAC 1000Kms Rennen (1 of 6 World Championship races) albeit by this time the car was back at Porsche receiving it's up-date.After this factory update Hans Harzheim raced on 13/07/1960 in the Rheinland Pfalz Preis Nurburgring GT Class (finishing in 8th place) and at Trier on 19/09/1962 competing in the Porsche Carrera Formula Junior race (finishing in 4th place).
The Porsche Kar-Dex system confirms that the final factory upgrade was in July 1958 to a new Carrera GT bodyshell and a 1600cc GT Carrera quad - cam engine (115ps), lightweight alloy bonnet, alloy boot lid and alloy doors plus a change of colour to Red.
Following its successful period of racing in Germany, the car was finally sold by its original keeper in the late sixties and exported to the USA, eventually returning to Europe in 1980 when it was spotted as part of a small private collection in Beverly Hills, California by the curator of the largest private collector of Porsches in the world owned by the famous German industrialist, Hans Dieter Blatzheim.
Stored in the Blatzheim collection until 1984, it's turn then came up for a complete restoration in Switzerland at a cost of over 74,000 Swiss Francs carried out by distinguished Porsche restorer, Armin Baumann, in preparation for its long term place in the famous Blatzheim collection in Bonn.
Hans Dieter Blatzheim was an enthusiastic and accomplished racing driver who had one of the largest and most significant collection of Porsche racing cars in the world. Tragically, he died at the age of 47 on 14/08/1985 in a Porsche 917 while testing for the Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. This Porsche 356, along with the rest of his collection, was left to his two young sons on the condition that the cars could not be sold until both sons reached the age of 25 - hence the recent release of this car onto the market by his widow to family friend and car collector Hein Gericke in 2008.
Mr. Gericke, a successful European retailer of motor cycle clothing from Dusseldorf had spotted the car along with a black 356 Carrera and sent this red car straight to Klaus Werner's classic car company in Wupperthal for re-commisioning. The engine apparently "smoked briefly for a few minutes and then cleared." The brakes were renewed and replaced where necessary, all fluids and tyres changed and some minor paint work rectified. The car ran superbly, as it does today, and was used and enjoyed but covered no more than 1,500 kms. Mr. Gericke decided to sell the little red racer late in 2009, and Klaus Werner's son, Max, who works for R and M Auctions suggested that this high profile auction company would be an ideal outlet at their inaugural Battersea sale and thus the car was bought by us on 28-10-2009 at a guide of £135-£160 thousand pounds.
It was then inspected by Francis Tuthill's workshop and confirmed as original and in excellent order throughout and then gained FIA papers and Technical Passport and is now completely eligible and welcome at all the world's most prestigious historic motorsport events, including Goodwood Revival, Tour Auto, Historic Le Mans and Mille Miglia, etc.
Recently prepared for racing by Abbott Motorsport this car now represents a unique and exciting opportunity into historic motorsport worldwide with a genuine pedigree and provenance. It is now also welcome in Ben Cusson's and Carol Spagg's excellent new Pre - 63 GT series and as a smaller engined car, is much more likely to secure an entry in their heavily over-subscribed series.
Our research has been comprehensive in terms of time and effort, and we have now filled in some missing gaps in the cars history which has allowed us to learn more about the car and critically to confirm the continuous timeline from 1980 to the current day with no question or doubt about this being the original car.