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Porsche’s first-ever Le Mans winner rediscovered

When Cameron Healey bought a little red Porsche 356 spyder in 2009, he knew that it was a special early Porsche. He just had no clue how special it really was.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/06/14/porsches-first-ever-le-mans-winner-rediscovered

I was looking at the power output of this Porsche, and I was thinking that today you’d have to buy a motorhome to approach it’s power-to-weight-ratio. No wonder they had to fair in the wheels! Then I saw that they averaged over 87 mph for 24 hours around la Sarthe. That’s respectable for any road car.

I would like to set the record straight on the Forge 356SL. Forge had done a huge amount of research on the car over the years and knew that it was a coupe and most likely the car that won its class at LeMans in 1951. He knew all the past owners, when and why the roof was taken off and by who. He even had photos of the car before and after. He was sure that his car was one of the two that had raced at LeMans (the other one is owned by Miles Collier). At the time both Collier and Forge felt their car was THE winner.

After Chuck passed away Clark Anderson and I were asked by the estate to sell off all the cars, parts and tools including the 356SL. Both Clark and I were very close friends of Chuck and had heard the history and even helped in the 1981 restoration. We gathered up all of Forge’s research and continued to dig for more. In the end we compiled a multi page document with its complete history including evidence that this was actually the LeMans winner not the Collier car. All of that information was given to Rod Emory and Cameron Healey before the sale. They knew exactly what they were buying.

Rod and his team has done a spectacular job restoring the car. And I am sure Forge would have said it was “huge”. If anyone would like a copy of the documents we provided Rod please let me know.
Llew Kinst