DSD Motorwerks was delighted to play a pivotal role in unearthing the classic Porsche 356 once owned by legendary Scottish racing driver, Jim Clark. The 356 with registration number UUL 442 was discovered in the garage of a deceased Porsche owner by Porsche 356 expert and DSD Motorwerks owner, Dave Dennett.
When Dave realised what he was looking at, he informed the owner that the car may be something special, worth far more than a standard 356. Once the information had been verified, the discovery was passed on to a noted UK collector, who was then able to negotiate an acceptable price to secure the purchase of the car for full restoration.
“That was a good day’s work,” smiles Dave Dennett. “I went to look at an abandoned Porsche 356 in a garage to help out the family of its previous owner, who had since died. It was obvious that this was not a standard little road car, so a quick check of some old photos showed some of its history.”
Jim Clark had loved this Porsche 356 for the same reasons we still love them today: wonderful hand-build quality and balanced chassis which could allow a driver of Jim Clark’s talent to make swift, relaxed progress on UK roads of the 1960s. The Porsche 356A also served as his first-ever race car.
Clark was later convinced to sell the car by Lotus Racing chairman, Colin Chapman, who pointed out how bad it would look for the British sports car manufacturer if its star driver in Formula 1 drove a rival’s product on the road.
Jim Clark Porsche 356 saved from a scrapyard
Enthusiasts would be shocked to learn how close the Porsche 356 of this much-loved British Grand Prix driver came to be being crushed in a scrapyard during the late 1970s, when Porsche Club Great Britain member, Nick Mayman, found it and managed to buy it for just £30!
After Nick’s untimely demise, the car languished in a garage for years before Dave was called in and the classic 356 could be rescued. While Dave never took a penny for helping this famous car find the right home, he did get a chance to drive Jim Clark’s classic Porsche 356 Coupe at the 2006 Le Mans Classic, where he set what is believed to be the fastest lap ever set by a Porsche 356 around the legendary Le Mans 24-Hour circuit.
Many of the parts required to bring this Porsche 356 back to its former glory were actually donated by 356 enthusiasts from the UK and beyond. The full restoration took more than eight months, with the body restored by Essex specialists and the engine and transmission rebuilt elsewhere.
The car’s first outing post-restoration was at Goodwood, It was subsequently raced at a number of other historic racing events before heading into a well-deserved retirement.
“Opportunities to be involved in a project like securing a safe future for Jim Clark’s very own Porsche 356 don’t come up that often in life, so you have to do the right thing,” says DSD Motorwerks Porsche service expert, Dave Dennett.
“The owner could not restore the car here at DSD, as our small team of skilled craftsmen was already tied up on a number of other restorations, and the new owner wanted it back to full health as soon as possible. The truth is, that doesn’t matter. What matters is the car survived and of course we had a wonderful time racing it around the full Le Mans 24-Hour circuit at a proper Le Mans Classic event with good friends at Vargas Racing. The whole story was a dream come true.”
Here’s some in-car video from the Goodwood Youtube channel of the Porsche 356 on track: