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Coachwork by Reutter
*Please note that this vehicle has been in long-term static storage and may not be currently operational. It will require mechanical attention prior to road use.
Stephan Graf von Kesselstadt, Berenbach (Eifel), Kaisersesch, Germany (acquired new via Fleischhauer Porsche in 1956)Richard Starke, Minot, North Dakota (acquired in 1959)Current Owner (acquired from the estate of the above)
The successor to Porsche’s glamorous but costly Gläser-bodied 356 America Roadster, the 356 Speedster remains an unqualified sports car legend. Elemental, avant-garde, and renowned for its sharper reflexes, the Speedster is an essential part of any collection celebrating the greatest postwar sporting icons. Accompanied by a copy of its factory Kardex production record, this 1956 Porsche 356 A Speedster is a particularly fascinating example with exceptional history and a wonderful patina.
Built in September 1956, chassis 82549 is an improved 356 A Speedster in the T-1 body style, which carried several features characteristic of the earlier “Pre-A” cars, including beehive taillights and a shine-down license plate light.
Originally finished in white with red upholstery, it was factory-equipped with numerous optional features including chrome-plated wheels, a chrome “D” (Deutschland) nationality emblem, continuous signal ring, button-operated turn signal indicators, a Ponto-Stabil rearview mirror, windshield washer, and a rubber storage-compartment mat. It was sold new to Stephan Graf von Kesselstadt, a German count, through the Fleischhauer Porsche dealership in Cologne, which remains in operation today. According to the Kardex, the Speedster was serviced on two occasions by the Fleischhauer dealership, in October and December 1956. An ACI (Automobile Club d’Italia) decal, dated 1957, remains affixed to the Speedster’s rearview mirror, strongly suggesting it was registered for a time in Italy.
In 1959, North Dakota native Richard Starke, a young USAF pilot, purchased the Speedster while stationed in West Germany. Eventually rising to the rank of major, Starke served in Southeast Asia as an RF-4C pilot, earning the Silver Star for bravery on a particularly dangerous mission. Following his stint in Germany, Starke shipped the Speedster to the US, and it accompanied him at his postings including Minot, North Dakota, where he moved circa 1966–67. The Speedster remained there until it was purchased from his family by the consignor. The original beehive-style taillights were updated to later tear-drop units early in Starke’s ownership and a repaint was applied at some point during his tenure. Carpets are original and some of the original upholstery remains. Other interesting items include plusher 356 Coupe-type seats (not listed on the Kardex), plus a St. Christopher medallion and ashtray on the dash, an added period-type Becker radio and speaker, date-coded fuel tank and chrome wheels, as well as a section of a 1959-issue US Forces in Germany license plate. A partial tool kit, jack, and side curtains also accompany the car.
A nice, honest find and presented as found, the Speedster retains its original, matching-numbers engine, which does turn freely but is not currently running. Offering an uncommon opportunity for the new caretaker to preserve or restore it as desired, this 1956 Porsche 356 A Speedster is a compelling find on so many levels.