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Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster 1957

Description

Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster 1957

Coachwork by Reutter

Chassis no. 83543
Engine no. 66130

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

*Fastidious 3.5-year nut and bolt restoration by marque experts to factory correct standards

*Equipped with rare and desirable, period Hard Top
*Finished in striking Aquamarine Blue non-metallic from the factory 
*Retains matching numbers engine and original body panels
*Offered with owner's manual, jack, tool bag, restoration records, Kardex and COA

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 July 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 striking and desirable Aquamarineblau (Aquamarine Blue) color. The Porsche was equipped for the US market, and fitted with sealed beam headlights, US-type bumpers and gauges. 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.

The new Porsche 356A Speedster was sold as a 1958 model, and probably not delivered until that year. It is believed to have gone from Hoffman to the Pacific Northwest, where it is said to have been owned by a person in Washington State. The car is said to have remained with the same Washington-state based owner, before being laid up in dry storage, until purchased by the consignor - a Southern California-based Porsche expert and enthusiast - in 2013. What intrigued the consignor about this Speedster, was how original and unharmed the car was. It had been kept in good and dry storage, so therefore had very little rust, and retained the original matching-numbers doors as well as front and rear deck lids. Furthermore, the original matching-numbers engine was in situ, and the F-code ignition key and switch present. The rare and desirable Speedster was indeed the perfect example to bring back to its former glory, and the consignor decided to embark on a comprehensive, nut and bolt restoration. 

A PCA Concours and Porsche enthusiast who really demands top quality and authenticity, the consignor would enlist the best Porsche experts to bring the Speedster up to perfect restored condition. The 42-month restoration was completed in February of 2018, and the result is immediately apparent upon close examination of the Porsche today. Original parts were kept and restored instead of replaced where possible and, if a new part was needed, efforts were made to source an original, new-old-stock piece as opposed to the cheaper option of an aftermarket item. The Speedster's original body panels were retained, and the front hood, engine lid, door jamb panels and both doors are all numbered '543' and match the Certificate of Authenticity and Kardex. The majority of the 100-point restoration was performed by 356-expert and PCA Concours Judge Tom Drummond III of Costa Mesa, CA. The original instruments were fully refurbished by Hollywood Speedometer of Hollywood, CA, while chrome and bright work was refinished by professionals as well. The transaxle - numbered closely to the original unit but of the improved T2 type – along with the original matching numbers engine, were rebuilt by renowned Porsche 4-cam specialist, Chuck Young of Costa Mesa, CA. All work was done to the highest standards possible and, per the car's original build records, the car was refinished with Glasurit series 22 paint in its as-delivered from new Aquamarine Blue color and trimmed in a beautiful Oxblood interior with correct Oatmeal-colored carpets. A period correct Hard Top was fully restored and fitted to the car - a very desirable and rare feature on a Speedster costing more than $25,000 in restoration efforts alone - while a black soft top and weather equipment was sewn up in correct German materials. Correct, date-coded wheels were restored and fitted, and wrapped on appropriate Vredestein Classic tires. 

A meticulous restoration, from the properly finished original nomenclature, correctly sized factory nuts and bolts, to rarely seen details such as the proper ignition switch and key, aluminum master brake reservoir, correct canvas spare tire hold down strap, safety hood release pull, Porsche fan belt, valve stem clips and period wheel weights. All in all, the Speedster received a full restoration to exacting specifications, with several PCA judges overseeing the process to makes sure all was done the right way.

A superb example of one of the most iconic and desirable sports cars ever produced, this Speedster holds all the credentials to go compete at the most discerning Concours d'Elegance and PCA events globally, or use on some of the top driving events one would want to enter. The Speedster is offered with its Porsche-issued Certificate of Authenticity, a copy of the original build sheet (Kardex), a jack, owner's manual and tool bag, as well as many photos and receipts of the fastidious restoration.

While examples of Porsche's legendary Speedster can be found from time to time, an example like this is very rare to come across. Boasting a no expense spared, nut and bolt restoration to the highest standards, while finished in the car's original color of Aquamarine Blue and retaining the original, matching numbers engine and bodywork, this 356A 1600 Speedster stands out at the top.

FOOTNOTES

Please note, this vehicle is titled under model year 1958.

SELLER

Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster 1957

PRICE

SOLD US$ 445,000

Specifications

  • Model: Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster
  • Year: 1957
  • Coachbuilder: Reutter
  • Seller: Bonhams
  • Country: USA
  • Contact: www.bonhams.com
  • Auction: Bonhams Amelia Island Auction
  • Auction date: 08 March 2018
  • Ad creation date: 23 February 2018
  • Tags: 1957, Bonhams, Porsche, Reutter, speedster

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