Matching-Numbers Example; Fresh Concours Restoration
Finished in Original and Desirable Meissen Blue
Prior Long-Term California Ownership
Final-Year Example of the Original Speedster
Accompanied by Porsche COA and Show-Quality Tool Roll
1,720 CC Type 616/1 Flat 4-Cylinder Engine
Twin Zenith 32 NDIX Carburetors
60-Plus BHP at 4,500 RPM
4-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Fully Independent Torsion-Bar Suspension with Shock Absorbers
Peter Vanwart, Sausalito, California (acquired in 1991)
Current Owner (acquired from the above via European Collectibles in 2013)
Based on Porsche’s Gläser-bodied 356 America Roadster, the 356 Speedster was championed by New York Porsche distributor Max Hoffman, who perceived demand for a lower-price, no-frills open Porsche. Equipped with simple bucket seats, limited instrumentation, and a cut-down windscreen, plus a simple top and side curtains, the lightweight Speedster delivered sharper performance and handling. Late in 1955, the comprehensively updated 356 A arrived with its larger 1,600 cc engine. Just 1,129 late-production T-2 Speedsters were built, including 552 for the final 1958 model year.
Completed on March 21, 1958, and delivered new to the US, this 356 A Speedster was equipped with US-specification bumpers and factory-finished in rare Meissen Blue. While its earliest history has not been discovered, the Speedster was formerly under the long-term ownership of Peter Vanwart of Sausalito, California. The current owner acquired it from Mr. Vanwart in unrestored condition. A bare-metal, concours-quality restoration by European Collectibles in Costa Mesa, California, followed, including an original-color refinish in single-stage PPG paint. The engine was rebuilt with internals balanced, fitted with forged pistons and a “Super” specification camshaft, and completed with rebuilt cylinder heads. A correct new exhaust was fitted and both original Zenith carburetors were rebuilt, as were the original fuel pump and distributor. The driveline received the same thorough attention, with the gearbox dismantled, overhauled with all synchronizers replaced, properly refinished, and mated to a new clutch, pressure plate, and throwout bearing.
The suspension components were rebuilt and detailed with replacement of all worn items; the braking system and ZF steering box were restored as well. Keeping pace with the exterior and its superb fit and finish are a new German canvas top and a combination of original bright trim refurbished by Victor Miles and NOS items, including the side mirror and correct “pickle fork” windshield wiper arms. The sporting cockpit was restored with new Red Wine upholstery (in place of the original black), and correct German square-weave carpeting; the refinished original steering wheel, gauges, and dash controls complete the pristine passenger compartment. Post-restoration, the Speedster received final tuning and show preparation by the well-known Jack Staggs of San Clemente, California; in early 2017, a thorough inspection, tune-up and fluid change was performed by specialist Jack Morris of Murray, Utah.
Accompanied by an owner’s manual and Speedster supplement, and a proper show-quality tool kit, this final-year 356 A Speedster includes a document listing the restoration details and work performed, plus its Porsche Certificate of Authenticity. Featuring its matching-numbers engine, and beautifully restored in the original and highly sought-after color, this final-year Speedster is one of the finest available, and stands ready to thrill its next fortunate owner.