All good classic cars have a great story – and if it’s a Porsche 911, this is usually twice as true. This Porsche 911 Spyder is no exception to the rule, as it would become the coveted predecessor to Porsche convertibles for decades to come. GOODING & COMPANY recently sold the vehicle in an auction in California, receiving over 50% of what they initially expected.
The Porsche 911 shape is immediately recognisable by the most amateur of motoring enthusiasts and the idea of violating the shape of this great car is sacrilege. This was especially true in the ’60s, just as Porsche was beginning to establish themselves as an influential name on the luxury car market. But this same market was begging for an attractive convertible or spyder make during the time, but Porsche didn’t think such an achievement was worth pursuing due to strict US motoring regulations. Porsche itself didn’t release their own roofless cars until late 1982, with the Cabriolet. But an influential enthusiast and distributor, Johnny von Neumann, wasn’t prepared to wait 20 years for his dream car.
And so, von Neumann got to work. As a longtime seller, racer, and admirer of Porsche, von Neumann wasn’t going to accept a botched job; he knew he had to work from the bottom up. As a local Californian, von Neumann believed there’d be a market for such a car so, with the permission of Porsche, got his hands on a bare 911 chassis. Enter the legendary designer and manufacturer, Nuccio Bertone.
With von Neumann’s deep pockets and Berton’s extraordinary capabilities, it seemed that this custom Porsche 911 had a bright future ahead of it. Bertone added a sweet Italian touch to the vehicle, in contrast to Porsche’s notably German aesthetic. The result is a beautifully classic European marriage of car design – Italian on the outside and German on the inside.
This inside is composed of a 2.0 litre, six-cylinder engine resulting in a commendable 160 horsepower. With this instalment, the car was debuted at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show, dubbed the ‘Porsche 911 Spyder.’ Somehow, the car wasn’t picked up by fellow enthusiasts and no orders were placed. Not one to be offended, von Neumann took the stunning prototype back to California with him, and the car has changed hands steadily ever since. These changes in ownership were private, and no real word about the Porsche 911 Spyder was unveiled until it showed up on GOODING & COMPANY with an expected asking price between $978,000 AUD and $1,397,000 AUD. von Neumann’s dream car finally got the recognition it deserved and the 1966 Porsche 911 Spyder sold for over $2,00,000 AUD – more than double the lowest estimations.
For a modern interpretation of the Porsche convertible, see the Porsche 911 Speedster.