VAN TASTIC

PORSCHES HAVE

PORSCHES HAVE always offered excellent utility, but this one-of-a-kind 356-based ‘Kreuzer’ delivery van, from the Taj Ma Garaj collection, being auctioned with no reserve by RM Sotheby’s, takes it to a new level.

Working with artist Byron Kauffman of Daytona Beach, Florida, John Dixon of the Taj Ma Garaj sketched out a 911 with a van body but after deciding that concept didn’t quite work their attention turned to the 356.

Dixon entrusted Bob Bennett of Bennett’s Rod Shop west of Dayton, Ohio, to bring the concept to life.

Bennett started with a damaged Reutter-bodied 1958 model in black with a sunroof and red faux-leather trim.

Forward of the B-pillar the 356 body is untouched with Bennett crafting an extended roofline and near vertical rear panel, but keeping the original bumper bar and tail lights, for as near as possible to a factory-built look.

The hinged rear door features a small window with a period “Please Pass” sign showing through as it would on a delivery van back then. Finishing the rear is the 356 engine grille that hides functional louvres to keep the engine cool.

The Kreuzer, German for ‘Cruiser’, is painted in gloss black and rolls on chrome Rudge wheels. The dash features a spread of VDO gauges while the driver’s seat and door cards have been re trimmed with red leatherette, as it was when new. The front passenger pew is a fold-up cane jump-seat as a nod to its commercial intentions.

Nestled behind the front seats is a suitcase storage area with leather tie-down straps and the floor features rubber mats.

Period accessories include a fan with ivory-coloured blades mounted to the headliner to keep the driver cool, rare analogue clock within the rear-view mirror, tinted driver’s-side sun visor, and even a cigarette dispenser.

Powering the Kreuzer is a 1600 Type 616/1 engine, though currently it's not installed. A 356A transmission remains in the car, ready to be mated with the engine. The Kreuzer was shown at the 2015 Dayton Concours d’Elegance, earning an Award of Excellence and as we went to press it was heading to auction with an estimate AUD $150-$200,000.