1960 Porsche 356B Super 90 Cabriolet ($245,000)
Photography by Cooper Naitove
Written by Andrew Golseth
- Location: New York, New York
- Chassis: 154444
- Engine: 1.6-Liter Flat-4
- Transmission: 4-Speed Manual
- Mileage: ~ 600 Miles Since Rebuild
- Color: Bali Blue | Tan Leather
The Lidless Super 90: For Those Who Prefer Their Wind In The Hair At A Higher Velocity
By 1959, Porsche began production of the 356 B, the model’s first officially designated update. Like the Cabriolet 356 A, the 356 B drop tops featured a color-matched, body-integrated windscreen frame. Dubbed the “T5” type body, the early 356 B cars received a sort of in-between-years styling, making the ‘59 to mid-‘62 cars highly sought after due to their unique features like the early 356 A-style single ventilated rear decklid.
The Super 90 factory engine option was derived from Porsche’s motorsport program after much customer demand. The dual-overhead Super 90 engine (90 referring to horsepower output) came equipped with larger carburetors and hotter cams for increased performance over the lower-tier 356 models. Due to its pricey configuration, few 356s left the factory in Super 90 trim, with an estimated 700 Super 90 Cabriolets making their way stateside.
The Porsche 356 is a Stuttgart sports car design score. It’s a shape that defined Porsche in its earliest days of entering the mass production market. With the aesthetics conceived by Erwin Komenda under the watchful supervision of Ferdinand Porsche, the 356 body was constructed on an all-new chassis using the pan-on-body technique perfected by Volkswagen—much like the Beetle.
The unique chassis pan featured several Volkswagen-based components, such as the general suspension geometry and basic flat-4 engine. Like the Beetle, the 356 was an air-cooled, rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive design, naturally lending aid to its streamlined, half-teardrop profile shape. With a silhouette akin to an airfoil, the aerodynamic construction is both functional and elegant.
The Cabriolet versions featured a fixed, body-integrated windscreen frame that was color-matched instead of the polished trim found on Speedster and Roadster models. This 1960 356 B Super 90 Cabriolet is a unique in-between-year type of build, that features many of the B model changes like the bumpers, but retains some A model items too, like the single vent rear decklid.
This 1960 Porsche 356 B Super 90 Cabriolet is being offered through Cooper Classic Cars of New York, New York. Finished in Bali Blue over tan leather, this flawlessly detailed Super 90 drop top received a comprehensive no-cost-spared 3-year restoration that was completed in the fall of 2014. Selected based on their individual specialties, several shops were consigned to overhaul separate segments of the vehicle.
The all-original, accident-free bodywork is numbers-matching and free of corrosion. The Porsche specialists at Kahler’s Werkstatt in Oakland, California were hired to complete the bodywork, which was comprised of a complete down-to-metal job to ensure all the original panels were straight prior to paint preparation.
Once prepped, the body was repainted in non-original Bali Blue (the original color was Aetna Blue), and every piece of chrome, trim, brightwork, glass, and lighting equipment was replaced with factory-correct OE replacements. New steel wheels and authentic Porsche center caps were sourced to match the renewed aesthetic finish—the original wheels are included in the sale.
Once the cosmetic overhaul was completed, VW Enterprises of Placerville, California was tasked with rebuilding the original powertrain. The 1.6-liter was entirely dismantled and rebuilt to SC-specifications, which entailed higher compression SC pistons, headwork, and various performance tweaks—the original pistons were kept are included with the car. The carburetors were rebuilt along with the fuel pump, and the engine was reinstalled and tuned to the result of 110 horsepower. In 2015, German Auto Werks of Placerville, California rebuilt the original 4-speed manual transmission, which now shifts beautifully.
VW Enterprises is also responsible for the exquisitely stitched tan leather cabin and new folding soft-top, which was completed in 2012. The interior still presents in like-new condition and all accessories function properly.
Body – The body is straight and entirely original, free of rust and has no signs of accidents.
Paint – The repaint in Bali Blue was done in 2012 and remains in near flawless condition. The original color was Aetna Blue.
Trim and Glass – All brightwork, chrome, and glass pieces were replaced with new authentic Porsche factory parts which still appear fresh today with no etching, hazing, or discoloration.
Wheels – New steel wheels and polished Porsche crest center caps were sourced in 2012 —the original wheels are included.
Convertible Top – A new folding soft-top was installed by VW Enterprises in 2012. The canvas is free of tears or fading and fits well with a good watertight seal. The hardtop (quite rare) also accompanies the sale.
Steering Wheel – The original 3-spoke steering wheel was restored and reinstalled.
Dashboard & Instrumentation – The green text over black instruments are clean and remain in good working order. The dashboard wears extremely fresh paint, and retains its functioning Blaupunkt radio. The leather dash pad is new.
Seats, Trim, & Carpet – The front seats and rear jump seats were reupholstered by VW Enterprises along with new door panels and wool carpeting. The car was originally finished in gray but was redone in tan, which suits the darker blue very well.
Engine – The original 1.6-liter flat-4 was professionally rebuilt by VW Enterprises to SC specifications, increasing horsepower up to 110.
- Original Motor: Yes.
- Engine Number: 801831
- The Drive: Thanks to the upgraded SC-spec engine rebuild, the car pulls strong through all gears without hesitation. Given the light construction of the car, its 110 horsepower is ample power for spirited driving.
Transmission – The original 4-speed manual transmission was rebuilt by German Auto Werks.
- Original Transmission: Yes.
- Gearbox Number: Available on request.
- The Drive: The gearbox shifts smoothly through a tall but direct lever with no grinds or pop-out issues.
During the restoration, the car had some original items changed per the previous owners vision of what was desirable in the Super 90.
- Paint color (originally Aetna Blue, now Bali Blue)
- Interior color (originally grey, now tan)
- Engine spec (built to higher performance SC-spec)
The new color combination was done to high standards and the additional horsepower increases drivability while retaining the original motor.
Included in the sale are the original pistons, wheels, and various service and restoration invoices documenting the car’s lengthy 3-year restoration (which was completed in the fall of 2014), and a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity.
- Bonhams Scottsdale 2013 – 1960 Porsche 356B Super 90 Roadster – $184,200 – Gray/Red, matching numbers, full restoration.
Rare Model – Super 90s are hard enough to come across, but there were only an estimated 700 Cabriolet versions imported new into the United States, which makes for quite a care combination of speedy open-top motoring.
Great Colors – There really isn’t a bad color for a 356, but the stunning dark navy Bali Blue suits the flipped bathtub shape nicely while offering more depth than more traditional colors such as silver or white. Coupled with a plush, inviting tan leather interior and matching soft-top, the color combo is a first class look that’ll always be in style.
MEET THE SELLER
This car is for sale by Elliot Cuker of Cooper Classics in New York City. You can get to know him better here.