1959 Porsche 356A Cabriolet Beutler Pursang. (image: Road Scholars)
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Beutler built six four-seat Porsche 356A/B-based coupes between 1958 and 1962, but just one cabriolet and this one was ordered by the Count of Wurttenberg, Germany.
With Porsche supervision, the artisan’s in Thun Switzerland built this one-off Beutler Porsche Cabriolet in 1959.
The business of Carrosserie Beutler in Switzerland was custom body work. As builders of Porsche’s first Cabriolets beginning in 1949, brothers Ernst and Fritz Beulter had long ties with Porsche beginning with the days in Gmund.
Ten years later, they still did custom, open Porsches. The Pur Sang, “Pure Blood,” was conceived for Duke Carl of Wurttemburg, based on the lines Ernst Beutler had used for a four-seater of his own.
After the initial contact, Duke Carl arrived in Thun with a complete standard 356A chassis (No. 13011) from Porsche. Beutler had prepared for the Duke a scale drawing. Together they changed the lines of the fender and set a date for a “fitting.”
The mechanicals are identical to those underpinning production 356A cabriolets including a 60-hp, 1600-cc air-cooled four-cylinder, four-speed gearbox, drum brakes, 15-inch wheels and independent front/rear torsion bar suspension
It took eight weeks to build the aluminum body. As a four-seater, the wheelbase was stretched 9.84 inches, an activity supervised by Porsche’s head of design Erwin Komenda himself.
The Beutlers bodies, for purposes of weight, were made in Swiss aluminum called “Aluman.” This was hand-pounded over tubular forms. Aluman was initially a smooth material that work-hardened with the hammering. This made it quite suitable for Beutlers’ assembly technique, butt-welding the panels by hand.
“The Duke came once again to sit in the car,” Beutler explained, to check that he fit inside. “Because he was very tall.” So tall in fact, that Beutler had to redesign the convertible-top roofline to accommodate the Duke’s height.
The Pur Sang sold for 26,000 Swiss francs (roughly $8,125) was finished in steel blue metallic with a beige cloth interior, the car was shipped directly to Wurttemberg. It was the last of the four-place Porsches in the “Beutler Style.” Whether Komenda exercised any direct influence is not known. But virtually all of the trim parts on the sole Cabriolet were made by Beutler for the Duke. With the six Coupes that followed, the resemblance to Komenda’s 356 became stronger and clearer.
After many years in Germany the Pur Sang was sold to the USA and went through many hands. Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane owned it to run around San Francisco for nearly ten years.
The Pur Sang was restored to show condition in 1996 and repainted in its original steel blue metallic paint. The car’s burgundy interior appears just as it would in a 356A, save for the rear seat. Less spacious than the back bench in the Beutler Coupe, it is large enough to comfortably seat four.
The Pur Sang has completed the Colorado Grande successfully and also won its class at the Quail Motorsports Gathering in 2008. This special aluminum one off Cabriolet is currently available from Road Scholars.
(source: Road Scholars)
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