Gear Head Tuesday – Porsche 356 Zagato

Gear Head

Hat Tip_2

Hat tip to “Dr. Mc”

Porsche-356-Carrera-Zagato-Speedster-lf

One of nine: later day re-creation by Zagato of the Porsche roadster they built for French race driver Claude Storez.

As we saw in last week’s Gear Head post, the ancestry of all Porsches began with and evolved from that first Typ 356.  Racing was part of the company from the inception of the earliest Porsche-branded cars.

An pioneering adopter of Porsche cars for racing was Claude Storez, a French race driver who first campaigned in a Porsche 356 in 1952. He won Rallies driving a 356 in 1956 and 1957.

Claude_Storez

Claude Storez

Storez finished 6th in the 1957 Tour de France in his four cylinder Porsche Carrera Speedster behind four mighty Ferrari V-12s and the Mercedes 300SL piloted by Stirling Moss – an amazing finish.

Storez liked the Carrera Speedster but thought it lacking in aerodynamics and that it was a bit heavy so in 1958 he bought a Carrera Speedster (built to GS specs) and shipped it to Zagato, the storied Milanese coach builder. His instructions to Zagato were to re-body and lighten the car. The resulting car was Porsche Zagato Speedster.

1958_Porsche_356A_Zagato_Speedster-1958

Claude Storez at the wheel of his Zagato-bodied Porsche Carrera Speedster

Driving his Zagato-bodied Porsche, Storez finished second in the 1958 Tour de France. In 1959,  he was in a fatal accident driving the Porsche-Zagato at Reims. The car disappeared after the accident and has never been found.

Claude Storez-Porsche wreck

Claude Storez died in the wreck of his Porsche at Reims in 1959.

Reims in relation to Paris

Reims is the heart of the French Champagne Region. It is northeast of Paris. Note the location of Le Mans in the lower left.

Zagato intended to produce more of these Porsches and also penned a coupe version. After the death of Storez, the plans for the coupe were shelved and no additional roadsters were built. The plans lay idle in the Zagato archives for 60 years. 

1958_Porsche_356_Zagato_Speedster

The original Porsche-Zagato built for Claude Storez had fins as shown in this later-day Zagato recreation of the car, but the one built for Afshin Behina (as seen in the video below) does not include the fins.

porsche_carrera_coupe_zagato_01

Zagato’s coupe version of the 356.

As Zagato’s Centennial approached, the company decided to dust off its plans for these Porsches and a handful of other heirloom Zagato designs and build them in limited numbers. This program, known as “Sanction Lost”, resulted in the construction of nine of the roadsters and nine of the coupes. Below is Petrolicious founder Afshin Behina telling the story of how he came to own one of the nine roadster versions. This video is a little over 14 minutes, but it is well worth watching. It is informative and beautifully filmed. Enjoy!

The sixth of the nine newly-built Zagato-Porsche roadsters was bid to a Reserve Not Met figure of $271,000 on 20 December 2018 at Bring-a-Trailer.

Ben-Clymer

Benjamin Clymer, founder and CEO of Hodinkee, a lifestyle and luxury watch website is the owner of the ninth and last of the coupe versions of the Zagato-Porsche. The coupes were not built with the fins shown in this original Zagato drawing, dated 1959:

Porsche-Zagato coupe-drawing 1959

Porsche_356_Carrera_Coupe_Zagato_1959_Sanction_Lost_12

UPDATE:

The Rapley Classic Cars website has two articles on the extraordinary Porsche-Zagato cars and the “Sanction Lost” program. Note the similarity between Zagato’s 1959 coupe design and the contemporary Porsche Cayman.

1959 Porsche Zagato – A Long Lost Coupe That Seems Remarkably Familiar >>HERE<<

Porsche Zagato – Sanction Lost >>HERE<<

Porsche-Zagato coupe_Porsche Cayman
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