1956 Porsche,
Lot 332
1956 Porsche 356A Speedster Chassis no. 82488
Sold for £117,000 (US$ 187,790) inc. premium

Lot Details
1956 Porsche, 1956 Porsche, 1956 Porsche, 1956 Porsche, 1956 Porsche, 1956 Porsche,
1956 Porsche 356A Speedster
Registration no. SSL 219
Chassis no. 82488

Footnotes

  • Although Ferdinand Porsche had established his automotive design consultancy in the early 1930s, his name would not appear on a car until 1949. When it did, it graced one of the all-time great sports cars - the Porsche 356. A cabriolet followed hot on the heels of the original 356 coupé and then in 1952 a trial batch of 15 roadsters was constructed at the behest of US importer Max Hoffman, who had persuaded Porsche of the potential for a 'cut-price' entry-level model. The roadsters' successful reception in the USA led to the introduction of the Speedster model in 1954.
    Instantly recognisable by virtue of its low, wraparound - as opposed to V-shaped - windscreen, smaller and entirely retractable hood, lower door waistline, horizontal trim strip at the level of the door handles, and twin bucket seats - all of which served to emphasise its sporting image - the Speedster was, in effect, an 'economy' model intended to compete with the cheaper British sports cars. The Speedster was powered initially by the 1.5-litre version of Porsche's horizontally opposed four, gaining the new 1.6-litre, 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 over 100mph was possible. Allied to its already renowned handling characteristics, this meant that the Speedster was an instant success in the burgeoning American sports car racing scene.
    Testing the Speedster alongside its Coupé sibling in 1956, Road & Track magazine reckoned, 'A more comfortable sports car for long, high-speed journeys would be very hard to find and certainly no other car achieves the combination of comfort, performance and fuel economy of the Porsche Continental Speedster or Coupé.' Its combination of style, performance and value for money made the Speedster deservedly popular - 4,822 examples being constructed between 1954 and '58 - and today this most handsome of the 356 variants enjoys iconic status.
    Imported to the UK from California in 1996, the car on offer here was subsequently the subject of a bare metal restoration (see photographs on file) that included rebuilding an up-rated 1,700cc engine incorporating later, stronger crankcases and fitted with dual twin-choke Weber carburettors. At the same time the electrical system was converted to 12-volt operation and the suspension lowered and stiffened.
    Following this restoration, which cost approximately £20,000, the car was sold via Brooks' Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale in 2000 (Lot 985) to an enthusiastic Scottish owner. The latter went on to acquire the very rare and sought after period, dealer-option Glasspar hardtop that the car boasts today, along with a set of five Rudge-Whitworth wheels purchased from another auction in 2002. Now looking every inch the 'road-racer', the Speedster was purchased by its last owner via the 356 Register in 2007 and has been used sparingly in his ownership. Reported as 'going as good as it looks', the car is offered with sundry invoices, restoration photographs, MoT to July 2011 and official Porsche documentation (the car carries its correct body numbers on various panels including the bonnet and boot lid).
Auction information

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