The first restoration by a franchised Porsche dealership in South Africa belongs to one of the marque's most fervent supporters, the one and only "Porsche Girl Cape Town", Michelle Hambly.
Photos by Justin Pinto
A SentiMETAL episode featuring Michelle was on the cards from the first day the video project started, for 2 main reasons. Firstly, Michelle is so passionate about the brand (her collection includes even a classic tractor) and secondly... well, let's just say we had a lot of cars we could pick from!
It took a while, however, because we wanted to choose the right car, and the right car was not immediately ready. You see, we settled on her cute 356 Super 90 as a feature vehicle, then being restored by Porsche Classic in Cape Town.
Eventually, however, the car was ready and looking splendid in its new coat of silver. Even on a cloudy, misty day in Cape Town, the 356 B is a visual delight, with almost impossibly many curves packed into such diminutive dimensions. Michelle's car is a 1962 model, and only 899 Super 90s were built in that year.
This being a Super 90, it had a bit more grunt than most 356s - the 1.6 boxer engine delivers - you guessed it - 90 hp (just shy of 70 kW) at 5 500 rpm, which seems like very little, but then you must remember that the 356 weighs less than 1 000 kg. So it's an eager little car, responsive to the throttle and Michelle has no qualms about "giving it stick".
According to Porsche the top speed is 115 mph (185 kph). No wonder it made an effective racer back in the day - it's deceptive speed was coupled with dynamic finesse. Carrera and Super 90 models, like this one, had compensating transverse single-leaf springs to aid handling ability.
This particular car has had 2 owners prior to becoming a part of Michelle's collection. As she explains in the video, every piece of paper and accessory that originally came with the car has been preserved, including a box with light bulbs, a medicine kit and a Porsche badge.
After acquiring the car, it was decided that a full restoration would be needed - it was no longer in its original colour, and some mechanical components were in dire need of replacement. And so began the first restoration conducted by a franschised Porsche dealer in South Africa.
The result is a spectacular-looking car, back in its original silver, and with an engine bay as neat and tidy as the minimalist dashboard. Following some further work, primarily on the gearbox, by Porsche expert Tim Abbott in Johannesburg, this 356 B Super 90 is now back to as-new condition and driven regularly (and hard) by Michelle.