Stretched Imagination: 1953 Porsche 356 Limousine

Over the years people have made some “interesting” choices when they have embarked upon the idea of building a stretched limousine, but I’d be willing to bet that not many people have considered a classic Porsche 356 as the donor car. That is what we have here, and whether you like it or hate it, you would have to admit that it is nothing if not interesting. It is part of “The Taj Ma Garage Collection,” which is due to go under the hammer in Dayton, Ohio, on September 28th. What makes this doubly interesting is that it is being offered for auction with No Reserve. If it is a car that really grabs your attention, then you will find it listed for auction here at RM Sotheby’s.

I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about this car, but with the stretched wheelbase, it now looks less like a Porsche 356 and seems to have a look about it that reminds me of the Citroen DS19. The decision to use suicide doors for the rear passenger area is an interesting one, although I can’t help but think that the panel gaps would have been better if traditional doors had been used. Don’t get me wrong here, because I respect the bravery and ingenuity of this conversion. It’s just that something doesn’t gel, and I think that it’s the side window treatment. When so much of the original 356 styling makes use of flowing curves, those slabs of side glass just don’t look right. However, that is just my opinion, and if you love it, that perfectly demonstrates why the classic car scene is so interesting. We all have varying tastes.

As you would expect in a top-spec stretched limousine like this, interior presentation isn’t completely original, but it is close to perfect. The white paint, combined with Butterscotch leather, cloth, and carpet look superb. There really isn’t a lot that you can fault here, and if the front of the vehicle is impressive, then the rear passenger area is at least as good, if not, better. I have included a good selection of photos at the bottom of the article, and they really do show some of the great details that passengers can enjoy, from leather and timber trim, foot-rests, a Blaupunkt audio system, and even finely decorated porcelain ashtrays.

Powering the Porsche is a 1500 S engine, which sends its power to the rear wheels via the normal 4-speed manual transmission. It isn’t clear what updates have been performed on the engine, but given the fact that the car has been inflicted with a pretty substantial weight increase, we can only hope that the engine has received some upgrades to cope with this. Regardless, it is a limousine, so outright performance is not what the car is all about. What is obvious though, is that as with the rest of the car, the presentation of the engine bay is extremely tidy, with no obvious problems.

There is no doubt that this Porsche 356 is one very interesting car. I can also guarantee that it will polarize opinions because you simply can’t modify a classic like a 356 to this extent without eliciting some sort of response from people. I’ll just be interested to see what our Barn Finds readers make of it and whether any of you would consider bidding on a car like this.

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Comments

  1. Jferrelllancaster Member

    I liked the look at first until the side and back view. The roof went flat to quick and the side skirts make the citroen look more obvouis.. a higher roofline at front and a more teardrop to bottom of rear glass with more of a hump over engine bay would have pronounced the porche look.

  2. dirtyharry

    Certainly well executed. Since Sotheby’s has it, you know we are looking at a six figure limo. I really can’t even imagine how slow this must be or what kind of turning radius it must have. I guess if you are a Porsche collector, you will have the only one. I have a brother in law, who also is a 1 out of 1, and I will sell him for $100.

    21
  3. Russ

    Could we have the front bumper follow the front curve of the body? Looks like a “slap on” to me.

    1
  4. Bob_s

    It would be slower than hell and have a top speed of, I don’t know, maybe 60 mph.

    4
    • Billieg

      60? Maybe 40 with a good tail wind and only the driver in it. Put in 6 people and you would have to push it to start it rolling….

      1
  5. Nick Hockman Member

    I would take it. I am sure you would have the most talked about limo at any event. Was there a place for the booze?

    4
  6. Stillrunners

    Like….it’s out of a collection from a Porsche guy going up fer sale.

    2
  7. RITON

    Got A/C? LOL…

    5
  8. Robert G

    If the auto industry had a Frankenstein this would be it, This car was not modified, it was molested. Although this car shows good workmanship it was a terrible idea. This is what I have been preaching about all along. Some people ruin good cars by committing them to an unqualified custom shop.
    This car is worth very little as it is, No doubt the suspension was not correctly modified to handle the extra weight, however all is not lost, because the car looks like it can be cut and restored to it’s factory condition.

    I think Sotheby’s is in in for an unpleasant surprise. Although I could be wrong about this, I think this car will be a huge flop on the auction block.
    But you never know, because some jerk with way too much money who knows nothing about the automotive industry might take a liking to this Porscsenstine.

    6
    • Mark

      Before shooting your mouth off and attacking a man who has passed, dig a little deeper into into who he was check out his entire collection.
      I’ve seen it. And believe me Dixon and his passion and knowledge of Porsche would put the majority of people that blow hot air with comments like yours, to shame. Is this car an oddball? Yes. But the car was used for more than just show. The man shared his collection with the public and didn’t keep it buried. Do you have a better one?

      26
      • Robert G

        Mark you have issues with excessive anger. That is a discription, not an indictment. That statement was intended to help you, not hurt you. Remember, a woumd from a friend is far better then kisses from an enemy.
        Having said that I will address your statement about the porsche.
        I was assuming that the dead owner was not the one who butchered up this car. Moreover I never implyed that he was responsable for this frankinstine of a vehicle.
        Moreove I never questioned the owners knowelgde on porsches, I am sure he was very smart, but even smart people make questionable decisions from time to time.
        I guess the auction price may give us a clue as to wheather or not this modification was a wise one or not.
        Thanks for your reply opinion.

        1
      • moosie Member

        With his comments I suppose he has a finely tuned in Crystal Ball,

        2
  9. RITON

    If someone wants to do a follow-up here of the final price…

    1
    • Robert G

      Okay so where the final price? and is that what they were asking for it?, or is that what it sold for?

      1
  10. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    I like it.

    6
    • Robert g

      Yuck, it’s a monster. You go right ahead and buy it if you like it. Its worth about twenty grand as a parts car, tops.

      1
      • U.K. Paul 🇬🇧

        Are you ok?

        6
  11. Mountainwoodie

    It’s……awesome…….no, disturbing……….but well executed. Looks like the bulimic younger brother of a Tatra

    9
    • Robert G

      Then Good for you, you buy it then.

      1
    • Zach

      I see the same thing you see – a very Tatra-esque profile.

      2
      • Mountainwoodie

        @ Zach: You, Sir, show a discerning and obviously knowledgeable eye :)

        1
  12. BlondeUXB Member

    Inspired by Citroen ?
    Remember: Just because you can
    doesn’t mean you should…

    3
  13. mikestuff

    Yikes…..

    1
  14. Arby

    Man, snap oversteer’s gotta be a bear on this one…

    4
    • Steve

      Yeah, when I first looked at it (before I read the caption) I thought it was a Citroen.

      2
  15. bobhess Member

    Before the purists get all wadded up, think about what the ’60s and ’70s generations were doing with old cars that could be bought for almost nothing. We got a package deal in the late ’70s that included a rusty Speedster, wrecked ’59 Convertible D and some parts for $200. In the mid ’80s we got another speedster with two engines, close ratio transmission, and a ton of small parts for $1,500. Everything was a throw away in those days. The limo could easily been one of those cars. Enclosed picture not so hot but that’s the rusty Speedster. It and the ’80s acquired one both got restored and we made a bunch of money to finish another race car restoration.The Convertible D helped restore 3 cars.

    10
  16. Wayne

    Not my cup of tea. At first glance with a front 3/4 view. From the rear of the front tire rearward it appears to be a 1960 Rambler American with a DS19 glued to the rear. The suicide rear doors make sense if you are the rear seat passenger and open and close the doors yourself. Otherwise you have to get your butt completely up out of the seat to close the door. Now if you have a chauffeur to assist in entry and egress, then the argument is a mute point. My father bought a very nice 1959 Caddy Limo (on the cheap) for taking trips. So I have experienced this situation personally. Different car for cars and coffee. But I fail to see the usefulness of the vehicle. Party/Prom/Gala rentals only. But normal use will degrade the the interior quickly. Cool car for a funeral of a Porsche nut!

    3
    • moosie Member

      Give Jerry Seinfeld a call.

      1
  17. pwtiger

    Will this thing make it over a speed bump?

    5
  18. Richard Gugenberger

    I really like it for the shock effect , gotta get lots of attention !!

    1
  19. frederic peter

    I don’t know why but something is wrong with this car….

    • robert G

      Yea, you can say that again, and again, and again, and you would be right every time.

  20. IkeyHeyman Member

    It would be a cool car to have for a limo business, but I sure as heck wouldn’t want teenagers to be barfing in it.

    5
  21. Slightly Askew

    “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon for mein wiener schnitzel?”

    3
  22. JagManBill

    Not a Citroen – the Dymaxion

    1
    • Milt

      Neither Citroen nor Dymaxion. Looks more like a 1951 Bathtub Nash resurrected from the grave, then run thru the crusher for the coup d’ grace.

      1
  23. lbpa18

    “Porsche 356” and “Limousine” go together like Tuna Fish and Ice Cream. But once again you gotta love someone’s ingenuity and ability to pull it off. Good for him. I hope it goes to someone who really wants it.

    1
  24. Wayne

    Not pointy enough n the rear for Dymaxion. ( Buckminster Fuller RIP)
    For those who have never read the story of Buckminster Fuller. You have missed some gear head/mechanical head/designer inspiration.
    Make a trip to your local library. You will find it an interesting read. And make a trip to the National/Harrah Auto Museum in Reno to see the Dymaxion.
    He was never one to accept the norm.

    2
  25. moosie Member

    Most if not all of Mr. Fuller’s quotes are really quite splendid. Well worth the read.

    1
  26. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Personally, I think this was for a solo appearance Disney film-it’s just frickin’ GOOFY!!!!!!

    2
    • RayT Member

      Not a solo appearance. The same collector had a 356 “Sedan Delivery” in his collection.

      Maybe not quite as weird as the stretch limo…but close. VERY close!

      2
  27. Sam61

    You’re on to something…a Citroen Estate with fender skirts and Porsche front clip would be more fun.

    1
  28. Fiete T.

    German version of the cartoon character “Schmoo” on wheels. Reborn as the Panamera…

  29. Ian

    I agree. Personally I find it interesting but would not do it myself. If I were to attempt something like this I would prefer to cut up a kit car that has no value but as you point out back in the 70s these had little value anyway. Or if it had been a basket case to start with then all bets are off. I owned a 1973 Challenger back in 1988 that had so much rust that I gave serious consideration to making it into a stretch. Would have difficulty considering that now.

    2
  30. Royal

    Having owned a small limo company that featured classic limousines, the builders of this thing got many things right but a lot of things wrong from a functional point of view.

    1. Too low. A limo needs to sit at regular curb height or even a tad taller to compensate for load weight and ease of getting in and out of the car.

    2. The configuration of the doors are probably done in this manner to make entering and exiting the rear of the vehicle more practical especially since it sits so close to the ground.

    3. The rag top while period correct, looks silly in that it is so small. They should have cut the top larger, but that probably would have effected structural ability.

    4. Divider window could have been several inches wider, but this is not a deal breaker.

    5. Rear seat is too far forward which allows for more lateral room, but eliminates ability to have a rear facing seat to hold another couple of people. This would have made the overall length longer, but that would have fixed those ugly little side windows. Furthermore, placing luggage behind the rear seat is tacky.

    6. I do love the front seats but like with any limo, they will cause the driver lower back pain grief as this is common with limo drivers. I also love the rear clock.

    I hate to be so critical, but this could have been done much better. At the end of the day, they will run this thing across the auction block and that will further artificially inflate the price. I have a serious issue with how these auctions are ruining the point of the classic car industry, which is to preserve old cars and allow their enjoyment. I have never been into trailer queens as I love to drive my cars. Had my 85 Deville out on the road for a 44 mile jaunt after a seven month slumber and love it so much more than my 2000 300M because I sit higher in the Caddy despite the broken front seat motor which leaves the bench down on the floor.

    3
  31. Dave Mazz

    After skimming thru the comments I see that some people like it, while others do not. Not a surprise, I figure you can say that about almost any old-car treatment out there. One thing’s for certain, the next owner will likely be the only guy (or gal) on the block that has one :-) :-)

    2
  32. ken tilly

    Pass!

    1
  33. Robbie M.

    The Ghostbuster’s new ride?

    1
  34. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    I see no use for the “limousine” call out badge on the side of the front fenders. Kind of like those cheap “street rod” stick on badges sold at Auto Zone. Otherwise, kudos on the execution. I’m thinking the style looks more like the rear of this Lincoln.

    2
  35. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    A Corvair executed well from the CORSA convention about 15 years ago.

    1
  36. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    An unlikely Porsche. I’m here all week ladies and gents….

    1
  37. Louis Q Chen

    It would be a great limo for Proms/Graduation or weddings. With this in mind one might want to throw in “Life in the Slow Lane!”

    1
    • ken tilly

      @Louis Chen. Your comment reminds me of our club motto. “Life in the Past Lane”

      2
  38. leiniedude leiniedude Member

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