1957 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster
Chassis no. 83376
Engine no. P*65734
1,582cc OHV Flat 4-Cylinder Engine
2 Solex 32PB1C Carburetors
60bhp at 4,500rpm
4-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*Delivered new to New York
*Only two careful owners in the 30+ years
*Retains matching numbers engine and original body panels
*Complete with original books, tools, and copy of its Kardex
THE PORSCHE 356 SPEEDSTER
The Speedster's inspiration was credited to John von Neumann, Porsche's West Coast distributor, who had chopped down a Gmünd-built Coupe in the late 1940s to create a lightweight competition car. Explaining such a car's appeal Neumann once said: 'Guys want to go, on a Saturday night in June, down Sunset Boulevard with their elbow over the door and the girls can see them in the car.' Plus ça change ...
Instantly recognizable by virtue of its low, wraparound windscreen, its smaller and entirely retractable top, lower door waistline and twin bucket seats (all of which served to emphasize its sporting image), the Speedster was, in effect, an 'economy' model from Porsche intended to compete with the less-expensive British sports cars. The Speedster was powered initially by the 1.5-liter version of Porsche's horizontally opposed four, gaining the new 1.6-liter, 60bhp engine with the introduction of the improved 356A for 1955. Priced at $2,995, the Speedster was the lightest of the 356s, enjoying a commensurate performance boost that meant 100mph was possible. Combined with its renowned handling characteristics, the Speedster became an instant success in the burgeoning American sports car racing scene. Its combination of style, performance and value for money made the Speedster deservedly popular. Today the model, arguably the most handsome of the 356 variants, enjoys iconic status.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
Completed at the Zuffenhausen-based Porsche works in the May of 1957, this sporting 356A Speedster was built in the transitional era of the T1 and T2 356A model production. The Speedster was finished from new in the sporting Rot (Red) color it wears today. The Porsche was equipped for the US market, and fitted with sealed beam headlights, US-type bumpers and gauges, and coupe seats. According to a copy of the car's original factory build record (better known as the Kardex) the new Speedster was exported to the US and delivered through Max Hoffman to its first owner in December of '57.
The Speedster would eventually make its way to the Republic of Texas from which is was acquired by the penultimate New Jersey owner in 1988. Shortly after his acquisition, the Porsche was shipped to Italy to be restored by Auto Sport in Modena. During this restoration the car was repainted in its original color but the interior—save for the dashpad—was retrimmed in the tan leather it wears today. It was also at this time that the U.S.-spec bumpers were replaced with the European examples currently on the car. Retained for nearly three decades, car joined the collection of the present owner in 2017. Sparingly driven in the prior 29 years, it was immediately sent to be mechanically and cosmetically serviced. The paint was refreshed while a laundry list of work occurred until the skin including rebuilding the transmission, axles, wheel cylinders, and carburetors, replacing the rear bearing, fitting a new fuel pump, doing a valve adjustment, flushing the entire fuel system, and finally installing a new set of Vredestein tires.
A nicely presented machine today, the car is complete with its original, numbers matching drivetrain as well as the original wheels and hubcaps that are date-coded to the car. Also included are the original tool kit, owner's manual, original sales brochure, and copy of the Kardex and 1988 Texas title. Not offered publicly in over three decades, this is a fantastic opportunity to join the ranks of the Kings of Cool including Steve McQueen and James Dean who owned and drove Porsche 356 Speedsters!