Interclassics Brussels celebrates 70 years Porsche 356

Porsche 356 Gmünd (356/2-044)

Great exhibition for the 70th anniversary of the Porsche 356

In 1958 Belgian hosted the World Fair. For that reason, the Atomium was erected. 9 diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected, so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. That same year, the Porsche 356 celebrated it’s 10th anniversary. That means that now exactly 60 years later, 2 anniversaries could be celebrated. And under the shadow of the Atomium, the Interclassics Brussels did exactly that. Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the World Fair in Brussels and the 70th anniversary of the Porsche 356.

With the help of the Porsche Museum, the Porsche Club Classic Belgium and Porsche Classic Center Gelderland, some unique and rare cars formed a unique display to celebrate the Porsche 356. The Porsche Museum loaned a 1951 Porsche 356 Gmund SL. In September 1951 on the oval circuit of Montlhéry near Paris, a 356 SL with a 1.5-litre engine covers a world record-setting distance of almost 11,000 kilometres in 72 hours.  

An earlier car was the Porsche 356/2-040 Gmünd. This particular car was one of the 15 cars that were delivered to the Swedish dealer Scania Vaobis Södertalje. June 15 1950 the female Swedish rallydriver Cecilia Koskull won it’s class in the Midnight Summer Rally. Next to that, they achieved a very respectable 4th overall. 

Porsche 356 Carrera Abarth
Porsche 356 Carrera Abarth

Mid 1959 Porsche wanted to maintain a succesful GT effort. They looked for help outside the company to keep the aging GT Carreras competitive. Specifically needed was someone to
build 20 lightweight bodies for the standard 356B chassis.  They ended up with the Abarth company, and the result is one of the rarest and most beautiful Porsche to ever leave the factory : the Porsche 356 Carrera Abarth. In 1960 only 21 Porsche 356 Carrera Abarths were ever built. One of them is residing in a major Belgian collection and was on display at the Interclassics Brussels. Visitors of the AvD Oldtimer GP at the Nürburgring may know this car. Together with another Porsche 356 Carrera Abarth, this car comes on it’s own wheels to the Nürburgring.

A car that is better known is the Porsche 550 Spyder. The car on display was the only Porsche 550 Spyder that’s still in the State-of-Art Collection. Porsche 550-076 has an extensive race history and competed in the Mille Miglia , the GP de Spa Francorchamps in 1957 and the Holland hillclimb in 1959. More recently, this particular Porsche 550 Spyder was a regular participant in the Mille Miglia as one of several cars entered by State-of-Art.

1958 Porsche 356 Carrera GT Speedster
1958 Porsche 356 Carrera GT Speedster

The Porsche 356 Speedster is a car that speaks to the imagination of many. Originally built as a low-budget Porsche, the Porsche 356 Speedster found it’s way in the race world in the USA. The Porsche 356 Speedster was a lightweight and known for it’s handling and reliability. A Porsche 356 Speedster , equipped with the Führmann 4-cam engine is one of the holy grails in many Porsche collections. A proud belgian collector showed his one to the public in the 70 years Porsche 356 exhibition in Brussels.

Ofcourse there was much more to be seen at the Brussels Expo. One of the highlight was the exhibition for the previously mentioned 60th anniversary of the World Fair in Brussels. A line up of cars from 1958 showed how the streets could have looked like back then. Dozens of 1958 World fair memorabilia were displayed in glass cases to make it even look better.

Close to 24000 visitors made it to Brussels to be part of the exhibition and enjoy the great cars shown by approximately 400 exhibitors. Brussels was definitely the midpoint of the classic car world in the lower lands.  Just as the sister event, Interclassics Maastricht that takes places January 10-13 2019, there wasn’t that much of parts to be found. Not the best place to help the ongoing restoration a step further. But on the other hand, never miss a show like this. You never know you stumble upon that single part you’re looking for. Or you might meet the collector who can help you. 

Picture Gallery Interclassics Brussels 2018

Pictures by Vintage Race Photography