1961 Porsche 356B Super 90 GT
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One of nine Super 90 GTs produced in 1961, one of 14 total examples built
Matching numbers engine and transmission
Has original matching lightweight body panels, original GT parts from factory
Award-winning nut-and-bolt restoration by 356 specialists Willhoit Auto Restoration
Has copy of Kardex, and Porsche Certificate of Authenticity
Best in Show at the 2015 Dana Point Concours, 1st in class at Concours on the Avenue
Close to 40+ years spent with one owner
Porsche has been known to be one of the most flexible and agile car manufacturers for decades, making special variants of their beloved cars based on racing requirements and client requests. The 356s were no different, with many of Porsche’s clients in the early 60s wanting a lightweight, nimble and powerful variant that would be excellent at road racing. While the 4-cam examples of these variants are often the most widely known to drivers, collectors and connoisseurs alike, there remains one version of the 356 that even today remains almost a myth: the 356B Super 90 GT.
Super 90 GTs were a rare form of 356, with only 14 ever produced with this example being one of nine built in 1961. Originally intended to carry 1600cc 4-cam engines, Porsche was running low on their motorsports engine and ultimately decided to put their “hot” pushrod 1600cc Super90 engine into the car. They were so much in common, in fact, that you could easily drop a 4-cam Carrera engine into the car with minimal effort. All Super 90 GTs were built as Carrera GTs, and only as Porsche delivered them they were installed with the pushrod 1600cc engine. They even had the Carrera coil switches in the dash that went unused. The car had all of the same tricks as a Carrera GT, with lightweight aluminum body panels, light weight steel/alloy wheels, a factory roll bar, an 80-liter (21 gallon) fuel tank, heated windshield, plexiglass windows, and very minimal soundproofing and undercoating. The results paid off, with the 356B Super90 GT weighing in 200 pounds less than a standard coupe, and 150 pounds lighter than its 4-cam counterpart due to the lightweight pushrod engine used. These exceedingly rare 356s were basically Carrera GTs with Super 90 engines, completed and delivered by the Porsche factory.
This Super 90 GT finished production at Porsche on April 6th, 1961. It was optioned in Silver Metallic over black leatherette and it was first sold by Competition Motors in Hollywood, California. Remaining hidden for years, the car was finally purchased by a family in the 1970s who owned the car for close to 40 years, stored and tucked away from the world. In the early 2010s, future owner Mike Tucci spoke to his friend during a game of tennis about a friend that wanted to sell his old Porsche. He said that it was a Super 90 GT so then Tucci did some research on the car and spoke to 356 expert, John Willhoit. Willhoit did some investigating and confirmed that the 356 was indeed a real, and extremely rare, Super 90 GT. Tucci was sold and purchased the 356, sending it to Willhoit Auto Restoration for a complete nut-and-bolt restoration to bring the GT back to its original delivery condition.
Willhoit Auto Restoration was chosen to perform the careful restoration of his car due to their amazing track record of restorations and being experts on the Porsche 356 platform. One of the unique parts of the restoration was that the car contained almost all of its original period-correct GT parts. Matching engine and transmission, factory roll bar, alloy wheels, 80-liter fuel tank, gauges, and other special pieces stayed with the car during its time in storage. With the items cataloged, the Super 90 was disassembled down to the last bolt, all paint stripped down to reveal the factory sheet metal. When the car was stripped, it was revealed that the 356 had retained all of its matching original factory aluminum lightweight panels: hood, decklid, and both doors. It was also revealed that the Super 90 had the same tar-paper insulation in the engine bay, just like the Carrera GTs. The expert craftsmen at Willhoit Auto Restoration then went to work, repairing and metalworking the car until the car was perfect. Primed then blocked to concours-level standards, with the 356 finally painted in the stunning Silver Metallic just like it came from the factory. Special care was given to applying the correct type and amount of undercoating, used minimally in period to save weight.
With the cosmetics well under way, the mechanicals of the car were thoroughly addressed. Every single system was gone through, every component checked, and every piece on the car refinished or replaced so that it was as close to as it was when it was delivered from the Porsche factory. The matching engine and transmission were completely rebuilt to ensure trouble-free driving for years to come. The entire interior was gone through, with period-correct alloy seat shells for the GT pulled from Willhoit’s own collection to complete the interior. The spartan interior is a thing of simplicity: little soundproofing, black paint, with only a few gauges to tell the driver what’s happening. Once all components were checked, assembled and approved, the lightweight 356 swiftly went together into a future award-winning machine.
Finishing the restoration in 2015, the car would not disappoint at the shows it attended. It won 1st Place on three separate occasions, taking Best in Show at the 2015 Dana Point Concours d’Elegance, 1st in Class at the Concours on the Avenue, and 1st in Class at Werks Reunion. Mike Tucci, proud of the car, decided that he was satisfied with the car and sold it to its most recent owner, who kept the 356 and drove it sparingly.
Upon arriving at Canepa, the Super 90 GT is a true neck breaker. A concours quality and show-winning restoration from some of finest people in the business, an exceedingly rare example of early Porsche performance cars, and the remarkable fact that it still retains all of its factory-delivered drivetrain and lightweight body panels. Being only one of 14 ever built, this Porsche 356 Super 90 GT drives like a dream, will only appreciate over time in all aspects, and will let the future owner join a very special group of individuals: owning a 356 that was destined to be Carrera GT, but instead became an even rarer part of Porsche’s history.