Classic conundrum – complete the mechanical restoration, retaining the unique patina; or carry out a full, concours-standard restoration of this rare Porsche 356A?
Restoration specialists Thornley Kelham have purchased a rare, matching numbers RHD Porsche 356A and are now offering potential buyers a unique decision: undertake a full structural and mechanical restoration and retain the eye-catching patina, or complete a full concours-standard restoration throughout.
The ‘end of production’ RHD 356A was originally completed in May 1959 and retains its original factory ‘Normal’ 1600cc engine and transmission. The car was then sold by AFN to England and British Lions rugby player, Mr Frank Sykes of Huddersfield.
As the German classic plot thickens, the car was originally delivered in Silbermetall (silver metallic) paint and subsequently made a journey to the USA, before residing in storage for a breathtaking 30 years!
3 decades of automotive slumber has left a desirable ‘patina’ effect with a particularly eye-catching blend of bare metal, red, and its original paint colour, emphasised by a previous attempt to begin the paint removal.
Porsche 356A – Patina or Perfection?
Based on feedback from several knowledgeable enthusiasts who saw the car at the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace recently, Thornley Kelham took the decision to offer potential buyers two different types of restoration.
The first would work to retain as much of the patina as possible by carefully replacing sections of rusted bodywork and undertaking a full mechanical and interior restoration while clear-coating the body to preserve the unique patina for years to come. Buyers would be presented with a structurally sound, perfectly reliable rolling piece of automotive artwork, proudly wearing the story of its 60 years.
Alternatively, Thornley Kelham can complete a full ground-up restoration from its 32,000 sq/ft state-of-the-art facility, featuring in-house bodywork, paint, engine and fabrication shops. Returning the car to its original paint and trim combination, the work would include a complete interior re-trim, chassis strengthening and drivetrain rebuild.
Simon Thornley, co-founder of Thornley Kelham, said:
“Often in the world of rare and significant classic cars, the stories that they tell are just as meaningful as their condition. We have deliberated long and hard over whether or not to maintain this 356’s marks of age, or to return it to as-new condition, but ultimately we felt it was a decision best made by the buyer. Our team has completed a number of 356 nut-and-bolt restorations, and we’ve carefully analysed the structure, body, mechanicals and interior of this example to know that no matter which route the buyer chooses, we can produce a rare Porsche 356A that looks good, drives well and works every time.”
A rare Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada carried out by Gloucestershire based company over a period of 24 months was awarded ‘Restoration of the Year’ at the Historic Motoring Awards recently, where a nut-and-bolt restoration of the rare Italian classic was recognised at the recent Historic Motoring Awards.
Whilst the decision remains within the budget of the potential buyer, the costings, as yet, have not been released for this particular project with anyone interested in the vehicle encouraged to visit this link.