Australian delivered, fully restored
1957 Porsche 356A Speedster
Registration no. BKO-61W (NSW expiry 12/8/11)
Chassis no. 84202
Engine no. 81453
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, their successful reception in the USA leading to the introduction of the stripped down 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. Powered initially by the 1.5-litre version of Porsche's horizontally opposed four, the Speedster gained the new 1.6-litre, 60bhp engine with the introduction of the improved 356A for 1955. Testing the Speedster alongside its Coupé sibling in 1956, Road & Track magazine reckoned, 'A more comfortable sportscar 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.' The Speedsters association with film stars like James Dean and Steve McQueen, and success garnered on racetracks around the globe, have ensured the model has become the most sought after 356 production model. 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 cult status.
The example offered here, completed on December 5, 1957, was a factory right-hand drive example, as confirmed by the factory card. Options included a speedo in mph, US bumpers, tarpaulin and coupe seats (with a split rear bench seat). The Porsche was finished in black (5701A) paint and delivered through local agents Hamiltons of Melbourne, Australia being first registered in 1958. At some point the original motor was replaced by a correct type 616/2 75bhp unit, possibly as a warranty repair given the number is very close to the original. The current owner purchased the Speedster circa 1981, by then in very rough condition after spending at least twenty years off the road.
After several aborted attempts at restoration, the owner had the car sent to O&S Restorations in Cromer, Sydney in 2002 and it was restored over eight years at a cost of $366,000 (bills and photographic documentation of the rebuild are available for inspection). The Porsche was completed in December 2010 and has been restored back to original specification apart from a rustproof undercoat and conversion to 12-volt electrics. There is a toolkit (including tyre pressure gauge, spare fuses and spare fan belt), correct jack and driver's manual. The tonneau is custom made and comes with it's own pouch, as do the side curtains. Following this nut and bolt restoration the Porsche must be one of best Speedsters in Australia and would be the ideal candidate for concours d'elegance events.
- Please Note: The correct registration number is BKQ-61W (NSW)