2023 |Amelia Island Auctions 2023
1958 Porsche 356 A Speedster
Coachwork by Reutter
$300,000 - $350,000
812782 (SEE TEXT)
Believed to Be One of Only 73 Speedsters Produced in the Desirable Color of Fjord Green
Fitted with Upgraded 356 SC Engine Built by Noted Porsche Expert Harry Pellow
Desirable “T2” Speedster from the Model’s Final-Production Year
Accompanied by a Copy of Its Factory Kardex, Owner’s Manual, Spare, Jack, Tonneau Cover, and Side Curtains
A Gorgeous Example Ideal for Prestigious Driving Events and Rallies
1,750 CC Type 616/16 Air-Cooled Flat 4-Cylinder Engine
Twin Weber 40 IDF Carburetors
Approximately 100 BHP
4-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Fully Independent Suspension with Torsion Bars and Shock Absorbers
Please note that this vehicle is accompanied by a boot cover for the convertible top, not a tonneau cover as stated in the published description.
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The 356 Speedster was the brainchild of Max Hoffman, the New York-based distributor for Porsche cars during the period. He convinced Porsche that a purpose-built machine was needed to compete with inexpensive English sports car offerings from MG, Austin-Healey, and Triumph. Stripped of unessential items, the Speedster featured a rakish windshield, lightweight bucket seats, and rudimentary folding top with side curtains. A club-racing star, the Speedster played an important role in Porsche’s early popularity in the US and was a sales success with 4,145 examples built.
By 1958, the final year for the legendary Speedster, the model had benefited from several important improvements, including an updated transaxle, new ZF steering box, high-bow soft top, and improved shifter position. These features combined to make the “T2” Speedsters, as they are called, the best to drive, and today they are the most sought-after variants of the iconic model.
This highly attractive example, finished in the exceedingly rare and desirable color of Fjord Green was delivered in January 1958 to Max Hoffman in New York. The consignor, a noted Porsche authority, purchased the Porsche in 2018 and believes this Speedster to be one of only 73 produced in this color, making it a very exciting find.
As was the case with many Speedsters, it is understood that this example was used for racing for part of its early life and then subsequently restored prior to the consignor’s acquisition. The goal of the restoration was apparently to enhance the car’s performance while retaining its factory-original appearance. According to a recounting of that restoration on file, a 356 1600 SC engine case (no. 812782) was sourced and brought to the famous Porsche mechanic, Harry “The Maestro” Pellow, who built it to 1,750 cc with a balanced crank, Weber carburetors, and a sport exhaust. The restoration is also reported to have included work to the Speedster’s suspension and gearbox, as well as its steering, fuel, ignition, and charging and heating systems. Even the correct windshield washer system was fitted, which is unique to 1958 Speedsters with the mechanical pump located on the floor. The 356 also received square-weave carpets, restored gauges, upgraded sealed-beam headlights, a new top on its high-bow frame, and date-stamped 1958 wheels. The Porsche is accompanied by an owner’s manual, spare tire, jack, tonneau cover, side curtains, and a copy of its factory Kardex.
This gorgeous example is extremely desirable as a final-year model in a rare factory color with a powerful, upgraded engine built by one of the most important names in the 356 world. This Speedster is ideally suited for spirited driving and its pre-1960 build date makes it an ideal candidate for major driving events and rallies in the US and Europe.