1958 PORSCHE 356A Sports 1600 Coupe
Believed at one stage to be the only genuine 356A racing in Australia with a CAMS logbook - and this is Jim at the wheel!
First sold new by Diesel Motors P/L as a road car to Frau J Scott -Morell (as she liked to be called) of Hopetoun Avenue, Vaucluse (Sydney). Frau Morell took it to England with her in 1961 for 2 years returning in 1963 where she kept the car up to 1985 when at 36,000 miles she reluctantly sold it to ex-pat Kiwi Jim Saunders of Waverton (Sydney). We have the original engine and all the papers including the log book.
Jim had a fanatical childhood dream to own and race the best 356A in the world and in quiet seclusion spent 10 years rebuilding the car from bare metal. Jim went to the USA to obtain the BEST aftermarket race equipment money could buy which included Spyder alloy brake drums, Spyder alloy/steel 5" wheels, all the special "go faster trick" suspension, a close ratio gearbox and ZF limited slip differential, GT Carrera plexiglass windows, and a 145 bhp Vic Skirmants "state of the art" engine built around beefed up and much stronger components, Spyder lightweight seats etc ... all of the above being homologated alternatives for the pushrod 356A and ideal to fulfil Jim's dream.
The engine in size is 1622cc with pushrod overhead valves, air (oil) cooled and fuel delivery is by twin solex downdraft dual throat carburetors. Engine compression is approximately 11:1 and uses only Avgas 100 + octane racing fuel. The 6 volt electrical system is retained. Twin oil coolers are tucked under the front bonnet apron to improve cooling and the car is run on Penzoil GT racing oil and changed every meeting. The original steering wheel has been replaced by an alloy centre/woodrim period 15" wheel that both enhances the cockpit but is identical to the GT optional race wheel ... Jim left no details out. We also have the original seats, windows, wheels, bumpers, instruments etc so the car could easily be returned to "road trim" for Targa type rallies etc.
Anyway, the car was all painstakingly re-assembled to Vic's exact specification by Jim and a very talented helper (Lance Seymour) utilizing lightweight aircraft nuts and bolts etc were possible ... the car has no excess fat! Even Porsche quad cam Carrera 4 GT dashboard gauges were procured as they were of higher scale readings this quick Skirmants motor required.
Jim Saunders' first meeting was at Eastern Creek in September 1995 and only did 7 more meetings including Phillip Island, Winton and Wakefield Park before selling the car to me in 2003 ... changing his mind every minute of the transaction.
So far the car has only competed once since being sold ... at Wakefield Park in November 2003 where it was very competitive even on 3 year old tyres and the gearing was wrong for that track. Jim Saunders and Lance Seymour came along as "helpers!".
Now we will have much more racing in this immaculate little piece of history ... so keep posted and we will update this site from time to time.
Rob Tweedie at Wakefield Park - November 2003
Vic Skirmants and his wife Barbara can be contacted on email address BarbaraSkirmants@356registry.org (Barbara is the membership secretary) and Vic runs a very successful Porsche race car business in the USA as result of his success on the racetrack in various 356's over the past 20 years or take a look at the register page on www.356registry.org and find a link to Vic's site ... well worth reading!
P.S: Congratulations Jim Saunders ... this car is an absolute credit to you!
Typical pre-1960's sports car field - at Wakefield Park 2003
FIRST UPDATE OF PERFORMANCES ... Oran Park all historic race meeting (long GP circuit) 19-21 March 2004, 2nd outright main 10 lap feature race and four tenths of a second under previous lap record ... Rob Tweedie driving.
SECOND UPDATE ... Eastern Creek Historic meeting 19-20 June 2004 in a combined field of 40 cars including 3 classes of Sports Cars (the old and the new and the ugly) we were 1st outright in class (pre 1960 cars) by a considerable margin in the main 13 lap race and also won the earlier handicap race only to be docked 15 seconds for "apparently" jumping the start!
THIRD UPDATE ... "Speed on Tweed" (Tweed on Speed) in Northern NSW weekend 17-19 September 2004 is a timed one lap sprint where cars run individually in various classes against the clock similar to a hill climb. It is a wonderful festival modelled on the brilliant Goodwood Festival in England and the 180 competitors are only there by initiation based on their cars being of an unusual and historic nature. The entire town of Murwillumbah is closed for 3 days, the main street converted into a half a mile long restaurant and social rapport is high on the list of priorities mingled with some motor racing ... well we did it again ... even "knocked off" one of the two genuine D Type Jaguars in Australia to win our class of Sports Cars over 1500 cc's that were 44 to 63 years old ... this little car just keeps getting better as I learn to drive it. Further details on the event can also be viewed on www.speedontweed.com.au ... enjoy!
Cars I have previously owned: (click)
Sold to Paul Savoy (Sydney) in November 2004
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