Episode 21, Rags to riches: The restoration of a rare Porsche 356

James Raia

Leigh Rutledge, a real estate executive in Sacramento, California, owns a rare Porsche — a 1956 Porsche 356 Cabriolet.

The car was made in the year Rutledge was born, and the model also corresponds to the month and year she was born.

In Episode 21 of The Weekly Driver Podcast, hosts Bruce Aldrich and James Raia discuss with Rutledge her 27-year ownership of the unique Porsche. The car has had a hard-to-believe legacy.

Leigh Rutledge and her 1956 Porsche 356 Cabriolet. Images © Bruce Aldrich/2018.
Leigh Rutledge and her 1956 Porsche 356 Cabriolet. Images © Bruce Aldrich/2018.

Rutledge purchased the Porsche in 1990 after noticing it for sale on a 3×5 index card. But the Porsche wasn’t much more than a collection of parts. The restoration began as a series of catastrophes, from unscrupulous “experts” to financial missteps.

But through the care and concern of several friends as well as her husband, Bill Hambrick (he’s also a vintage Porsche owner), Rutledge persevered. She now has one of what may be 20 known examples of the Cabriolet remaining.

Through the years, Rutledge has entered various car shows, and her Porsche has won every time. More than 350 vehicles were entered in one event.

Rutledge doesn’t drive her Porsche often, but when she does, it always attracts attention. About 1 1/2 years ago, Rutledge was contacted by a wannabe owner in Germany. The discussion didn’t advance past pleasantries.

Rutledge and Hambrick often attend Porsche functions in one of their vintage cars. But they’ve never driven their respective Porsches to the same event. Rutledge said the husband-wife team has discussed the possibilities, and their mini rally could happen this year.

Listen to our episode as Rutledge details the trials and tribulations of her Porsche ownership. She talks about rare parts and rave reviews. She shares the appreciation she has for the friend who is largely responsible for its restoration.

And she also reveals what her 1956 Porsche 356 Cabriolet is likely worth.

Thank you for listening to our podcast. We welcome your comments.

Article Last Updated: January 2, 2018.

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