After it took first place in the 1100cc class at Le Mans in 1951, Porsche sold this 356 SL Gmund Coupe like it was just another used car.
Ferdinand Porsche only built about fifty aluminium-bodied 356s in the Austrian town of Gmünd in Kärnten before moving back to Germany in 1950. He switched to steel bodies soon after, but when the organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans convinced him to take part in the 1951 race, Porsche used two of his unused aluminium bodies to create the lightweight SL racers.
While #47 was crashed beyond repair during testing, Porsche's first race car, the 1100cc #46 Coupé managed not only to score a class win, but beat all the 1500cc cars as well using its 45-horsepower VW-style engine and ultra-slippery body, complete with side skirts and a flat underbelly.
Although it had to remain road-legal, the 1350-lb. 356 SL Gmund Coupé that competed at Le Mans had a bigger fuel tank, improved drum brakes, an extra fuel pump and windshield wiper mount, beefier Solex carburettors and quite possibly the narrowest front track to compete at Le Mans at the time, thanks to those covered wheel arches.
After giving Porsche its all-important first victory, #46 was sold with a detuned engine to an American importer. Back then, it wasn't considered an important piece of Porsche history; it was just "some old race car." Years later, its new owner turned this historic machine into a Speedster by chopping off the roof to save even more weight. But while the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart had to disguise a 1952 Gmünd Coupé as the original Le Mans winner for its display, the real car finally got restored to its 1951 spec by the Outlaw folks at Emory Motorsports, with a hand-built roof and all the tiny details the researchers could discover after carefully examining both other cars and black-and-white photos from the period. The resulting Coupé speaks for itself.