Our 60th anniversary celebrations will take many forms over the course of the summer and beyond, all of which we hope will provide you with fond and lasting memories of your past and ongoing membership experience. While the lion’s share of these will be physical events, the Club is also endeavouring to bring you a variety of keepsakes to enjoy and cherish – the first of which we are delighted to reveal here…
Porsche Club GB is uniquely placed among Porsche owners’ clubs in having a rare and highly original 356 Coupe to call its own. Following its exacting restoration by Andy Prill, ‘Albie’ has become a fixture both of the Clubhouse and summer events and has even worked for Porsche Cars in Reading on media drives and photo calls.
To help everyone enjoy a little slice of this important member of the Club family, the Board recently approved a limited run of collectible scale models to replicate our special car down to the finest detail.
Credit for the idea goes to Chris Pruden, PCGB’s Events and Motorsport Creative and a familiar face to all members with an appreciation for the coffee he has been handing out at Club events over the years. “I’m a big collector of models myself, as are many Porsche owners,” Chris explains. “I’d been thinking about what an important year this was for the Club and how we needed to come up with something really special for members to remember it by. The 356 at Cornbury House seemed like the perfect place to start.”
Chris’ first port of call was Spark, a French modelmaker which has, in a relatively short period of time, garnered international acclaim for quality and exacting detail. The company has also recently become the official supplier for Porsche AG. Although the Spark team were delighted to help out, they immediately hit upon one fairly major snag.
“As it stood, Spark didn’t actually have a mould for the 356 B that we have, so they had to start from scratch for us,” Chris says. The 356 B T5, of which Albie is one, was built between 1959 and 1962 before being replaced by the T6 and later C models. “We were trying desperately to get them over from France with their scanning equipment, but the lockdown prevented it for too long. Eventually, they managed to track down a collector in France who had one, so they scanned that instead and began building a 3D model.”
Even beyond the initial detective work, Spark’s processes in faithfully recreating the 356 were exhaustive and highly technical. The first stage was to laser scan the coupe’s bodywork at hundreds of pre-selected points – a job done in situ with a mobile scanner and many slow and patient hours. A prototype was then created for internal approval before final moulds could be made. Exploded CAD diagrams reveal an exceptional level of detail at this stage, with interior elements such as door pulls, window winders and pedal sets all accounted for.
“I had to take lots of intricate photos of the interior and certain details and stickers on the car so they could get it exactly right inside and out,” Chris says. “It was a normal project for Spark, but it began to feel like a huge one for us!”
The interior of the 356 is 3D-printed and each separate element is hand-painted to an exact colour match for the original, from touchpoints and trim to the leather upholstery. All of the exterior badging has been faithfully reproduced too.
The model will be offered in both 1/18th and 1/43rd scales, with the former limited to a production run of just 60 and the latter to 600. Each car will arrive in a unique presentation box with a sleeve depicting various images and personalities from the Club’s history, and all sit on numbered stands.
The first examples from both runs will be kept by PCGB, while the second 1/18th scale model made will be presented to Porsche in Zuffenhausen during a future factory visit. The second 1/43rd scale car, meanwhile, is being given to Porsche Cars Reading to acknowledge our long-standing and ongoing ties of friendship and close cooperation. One last car, no. 356 from the 1/43rd scale run, will be auctioned off to members later in the year with the proceeds going to a charity chosen by the Club’s board.
All of the others, however, will be made available online as soon as they arrive in the third quarter of 2021 and will be sold on a first come, first served basis. The 1/18th scale models are priced at £150 (including VAT) while the smaller 1/43rd scale examples will be just £50.
“For someone like me for whom models are a real passion, it’s been a pleasure developing the idea into reality,” says Chris. “And Spark’s history and ties to Porsche gave me the confidence to pursue this project, knowing we’d have something really special to offer members at the end of it.”