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A Factory GT Mystery


When Porsche’s are special ordered from the Factory they come in all different ways. It has always been a cornerstone of the Porsche Sales Team that if you want it, and will pay for it, they will build it your way. Long before Burger King, the Werks were your way, right away. The best story I have heard about this is a friend of mine was at the Factory sometime in the mid 80s and there was a guy in the parking lot having pictures taken with his new 928. When my friend got closer he realized why the car was so special, the man’s suit was made from the same fabric as the car’s interior, a true match! The question was what came first, did the suit match the interior, or did the interior match the suit?
This story illustrates that the Factory would really make whatever you wanted, provided you were ok with the price.
This was what happened when 108368 was special ordered from the Factory. It was to be Right Hand Drive with GT specs, lightweight panels, etc, but fitted with a pushrod motor. Curious, a pushrod motor, with everything else Carrera, until you realize that as soon as the car hit the dock in South Africa it was fitted with a special motor. The owner of the car, Jim Barrington, explains,
“The car was delivered from the factory with a 1600 Super pushrod but was fitted with a RSK four cam, by the Porsche Distributor in Johannesberg.”


My bet is that they already had the RSK motor but wanted a super lightweight car to put it in, but why pay the premium for a 4-cam motor when they already had one ready to go. Another theory was the car would have taken longer if it was fitted with a 4-cam, so they shipped it with a pushrod. My money is still on the “motor in hand” theory.
Of course, theorizing by the armchair is fun but Jim spells out what really happened.
“Car was definitely delivered with a pushrod motor per the Kardex and the COA. The reason is the car was likely the precursor to a deal Porsche made with Lindsey Sakar motors, the main Porsche distributor in South Africa. At the time, South Africa had Draconian import duties designed to protect their domestic car market. The Kardex states in a foot note, the car was delivered without motor, tires, battery, and a few other items. My guess is when it was shipped into the country the shipping manifest said ‘parts’.”
The “parts” cars came in pretty steady for awhile, except for the ones that didn’t quite make it all the way to South Africa. Jim explains,
“Subsequently, approximately 200 cars were shipped into South Africa, completely broken down and reassembled at Lindsay Sakkar Motors. There was an article written by one of the South African 356 members about this arrangement, the distributor ( not a dealer ), had with Porsche. One interesting side note is that on one of these shipments, the cargo ship sunk in the Suez canal with I believe 20 356 cars.”
Of course, there was one final theory put forth by one of the Factory Drivers on how 108368 came to be. According to Jim,
“I assume Lindsay Sakkar already had the 4 cam, because Fraser-Jones told me he was expecting an RSK from the factory and all they could come up with was this GT 356A.”

Jim found the car through a well known wheeler-dealer. He remembers it like this,
“The 59 GT was acquired with the help of Gary Kempton (as I remember in the early 90’s), who acquired it for another customer who subsequently didn’t want it when he found the car was delivered from the factory with a pushrod engine rather than a 4-cam ( even though when raced in South Africa, an RSK 4-cam was used).”

GT as found.


The racing history on the car is extensive, it was built for it. Jim recalls,
“1959 356A GT 108368, which is the right hand drive lightweight, raced by Factory Driver Ian Frazer-Jones, who raced the car in South Africa in the late 50’s and early 60’s. He raced it in 1960 and a little in 1961 for the Porsche factory. The car was raced principally on road race circuits but also participated in some long distance enduros in South Africa and Rhodesia.”
It has continued to be raced by Jim. He says,
“The car has been raced on the west coast at the Monterey Historics.”



This story is a true example of if you want it, the Porsche Factory will build it, or in this case, not build it to evade the tax man.
Normally 108368 is only shown on the racetrack but on October 16th, 2011 it will be shown on the lawn at the Porsche Race Car Classic in Carmel, CA. For more info on the PRCC go to:
Porsche Race Car Classic

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—Adam Wright

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