Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Reutter
Henry Russell, Cincinnati, Ohio (acquired circa 1965)Bernard Calvert, Palmdale, California (acquired from the above in 1967)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Introduced in late 1954, the Porsche 356 Speedster was designed as a dual-purpose sports car – one that could serve as both a daily driver and, with little modification, a successful weekend racecar.
Originally priced at $2,995, well below Porsche’s more luxurious coupe and cabriolet models, the Speedster was equipped with a stylish, cutdown windscreen, racy bucket seats, a minimal folding soft top, and side curtains in place of standard roll-up windows. These features reduced the car’s weight and made it ideally suited to competition use. Thanks to its outstanding competition record, brilliant driving dynamics, and quality build, the featherweight Porsche became a favorite with sports car enthusiasts, particularly in California, where the option of open motoring was available almost every day of the year.
The Speedster presented here is a particularly rare find, as one of only 181 examples originally finished in Meissen Blue (Code 5703), among the most attractive colors offered for the 356 series. Completed at the Porsche factory in February 1958, 84577 is a late-production T-2 Speedster, which can be immediately distinguished from earlier Pre-A and T-1 versions by its teardrop taillights, shine-up license plate light, rear bumper guards with integrated exhaust passages, and minor differences in hardware and interior trim. In total, just 1,129 T-2 Speedsters were built between 1957 and 1958.
According to Porsche factory records, 84577 was sold new through Hoffman Motors in New York City and returned to the dealership on August 20, 1958, for its first service. By 1965, the Speedster was owned by Henry Russell of Cincinnati, Ohio. As evidenced by a file of receipts dating to his ownership, Mr. Russell drove his 356 regularly and entrusted it to Hassan Motors, Inc., the local Porsche-VW agent, for maintenance.
In July 1967, the Porsche continued its westward journey when it was sold to Bernard Calvert, a resident of Lancaster, California. Remarkably, the car remained in Mr. Calvert’s care for over 45 years, during which time it was simply driven and maintained as needed. During his ownership, the Speedster was fitted with its aftermarket hardtop, and the Meissen Blue paint was refinished following a repair to the driver’s side front fender.
Not only does this Porsche possess a wonderful patina and charming period features, it is a genuine “black plate” California car retaining its matching-numbers 1600 engine, period hardtop and a spectacular file of original paperwork dating back to 1965 – a time when the Speedster was solely a used sports car employed as daily transportation. Presented for public sale for the first time, this 356 is sure to appeal to the collector who appreciates an unrestored car with distinctive character and charisma.