Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004
Lot 28
1955 Porsche 356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster
Sold for € 586,500 (US$ 683,155) inc. premium

Lot Details
Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004 Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium,1955  Porsche  356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster  Chassis no. 80926 Engine no. P 60 004
Believed the only one delivered new to Belgium
1955 Porsche 356 'Pre-A' 1600 Speedster
Chassis no. 80926
Engine no. P 60 004
•One of the rarest Pre-A Speedsters with a very early 1600cc engine from new
•Matching numbers, matching colours
•Only four owners from new
•Multiple concours class-winning example
•Mille Miglia Eligible

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.

Having commenced manufacture with a short run of aluminium-bodied cars built at Gmünd, Porsche began volume production of the steel-bodied 356 coupe at its old base in Stuttgart. The work of Ferry Porsche, the 356 was based on the Volkswagen designed by his father. Like the immortal 'Beetle', the 356 employed a platform-type chassis with rear-mounted air-cooled engine and torsion bar all-independent suspension. In 1951 a works car finished first in the 1,100cc class at the Le Mans 24-Hour Race, thus beginning the marque's long and illustrious association with La Sarthe.

Constant development saw the 356's engine enlarged first to 1.3 and then to 1.5 litres; the original split windscreen replaced by a one-piece; and a Porsche synchromesh gearbox adopted. 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. The Speedster's inspiration is also credited to John Von Neumann, Porsche's West Coast distributor, who had chopped down a Gmünd-built coupé 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 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 in 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 declared, '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.

A very late 'Pre-A' Speedster fitted with the 1,600cc engine, chassis number '80926' was sold new on 26th November 1955 by the D'Ieteren Frères dealership in Brussels to the Van Diest-Engels company in Leuven, Belgium. Its first owner was Mr Yves Tassin, son of the company's proprietor, who kept the Speedster until 1958. Yves Tassin is a well-known racing driver who, with the 'Écurie National Belge', competed in various races in the 1950s with a Porsche 550 Spyder including Le Mans, Grand Prix of Angola, Grand Prix Kristian Stadt, and the Grand Prix des Frontières' at Chimay in 1957. In the morning at Chimay, Yves Tassin drove his privately owned Speedster, '80926', in the national category race, finishing in 7th place, and in the afternoon drove the 550 Spyder in the star-studded international race.

At the end of 1958, Yves Tassin sold the Speedster to Baron Bernard de Marcken de Merken, who used the car as his daily driver and owned it until the end of 1979. After 21 years, the Baron sold the Porsche to a car dealer who specialised in old military vehicles and Rolls-Royces. Its next owner was Mr Tibor Gerber, a German citizen who was employed at the West German Consulate in Brussels. Mr Gerber took the car to Como in Italy where he still lives today. He intended to restore the car but never got around to it. The Speedster had spent more than 30 years out of sight in an underground garage where the current vendor discovered it in 2012. A copy of the original registration was still with the car.

In July 2012, the vendor imported the Speedster back to Belgium and began its complete restoration, sparing no effort during the two-year rebuild to bring the car to 'concours' standard. The body was stripped of all paint and dirt by immersion in an acid bath at a Lokeren-based specialist company. All sheet metal parts that were rusted or damaged were replaced, including the floor, the bottom of the battery box, and the sills. Fortunately, the body itself was in good condition so replacement of the outer panels was unnecessary. All individual parts such as the doors, boot and engine cover are numbered '926' (the last three numerals of the chassis number) making this a 'matching panels' car.
The Porsche was still white - its original factory colour - when purchased and had been fitted with a Super 90 engine. Fortunately, the original engine, number 'P 60 004' was included in the purchase and had been completely restored. Enquiries have established that this appears to be the fourth Type 616/1 engine of 1,571cc (nominally 1,600cc) displacement made, and an engine of this capacity is extremely rare in a 'Pre-A' Porsche 356. The Type 616/1 engine was already used by the factory in the 356A models in production from late 1955. As coachbuilder Reutter had still had 'Pre-A' Speedster bodies in stock, these 1,571cc '1600' cars can be considered an intermediate model.

After the body restoration was competed, the car was professionally painted by Carosserie Symons in Borsbeek and then assembled by the vendor - a knowledgeable Porsche enthusiast. All original parts were restored and reused where possible. Other components that had become unusable were replaced by 'new-old-stock' parts where possible. Examples of this car's exceptional originality include the original ignition switch and starter button; original Bosch headlights with the adjustment screws at 9 o'clock; the license plate illumination with the Hella logo; Bosch square-shaped door handles (typically 'Pre-A'); 16" wheels produced by Lemmerz & Kronprinz (date stamped); the original VDM horn button; and the SWF-brand wiper arms and blades (OEM).

The engine and gearbox were completely overhauled, with all worn parts renewed. The latter include all crankshaft bearings and connecting rods; all piston rings; all valve guides and seats; all seals; all gearbox bearings and seals; and various dust covers and rubbers. Furthermore, the original Solex 32 PBIC carburettors were ultrasonically cleaned by a specialist and fitted with new seals and nozzles. All parts of the engine and suspension were either powder-coated or re-plated. A new wiring harness was installed, and all of the electrical components such as the starter motor, alternator, etc were overhauled by a Bosch service centre.


The restoration was completed in October 2014 and the Speedster then participated in its first concours d'élégance - the Antwerp Competition in Wijnegem - winning 1st prize in the Porsche category. The Speedster participated in a number of classic car events and rallies during the first half of 2015, including the Porsche Classic Club's Spring Rally and the Beerens Classic Rally.

In October 2015, the car was entered in the Zoute Concours d'Élégance by Bank De Groof Petercam where it won the trophy for 'Most Sensitive Restoration' following evaluation by a five-member jury of leading experts - an accolade the owner is justifiably proud of. In March of this year, the Speedster was put on display at the 'Antwerp Classic Salon 2016' where it won the 1st prize at the Concours d'Élégance for cars built between 1885 and 1955.

Accompanying documentation includes a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity (confirming the original engine capacity as 1,571cc); a copy of the original factory Kardex mentioning D'Ieteren and Yves Tassin; and a copy of the first registration in Belgium in November 1955. Also included are all documents relating to the research of the car's history together with numerous newspaper clippings from 1957 regarding the race that the Speedster participated in; a picture of the same race with Yves Tassin behind the wheel; and documents relating to Yves Tassin's racing career. A 356 Speedster owner's manual is included in the sale. It is worthwhile noting that all three previous owners are still alive and it is nice to know is that the Speedster's first owner, Yves Tassin, still lives in Knokke-Zoute.

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