<b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322
Lot 64
1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster
Coachwork by Reutter
Sold for US$ 297,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
<b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322 <b>1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster</b><br />Chassis no. 81216<br />Engine no. 66322
1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster
Coachwork by Reutter

Chassis no. 81216
Engine no. 66322 (see text)

1,582cc OHV Flat 4-Cylinder Engine
2 Carburetors
60bhp at 4,500rpm
4-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes

*Highly desirable Porsche sports car model
*Dry stored for many years
*Excellent potential for vintage events
*Perfect candidate for the restoration of an icon


THE PORSCHE 356 SPEEDSTER

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 Porsche 356 Coupe, and then in 1952 a trial batch of 15 America 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 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 - 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 emphasize 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-liter version of Porsche's horizontally opposed four, gaining the new 1.6-liter, 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.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

When released from the factory in early 1956, this Porsche 356A Speedster was dressed in red paint, with a black leatherette interior and the special option of sealed beam headlights. According to research by the owner, the car has never been fully restored and was in storage for much of its life.

Although ownership of this Porsche is largely undocumented, we know that the car was purchased by William Benz of San Jose, California in 1978. It was much loved and driven regularly by Mr. Benz, and at some point – probably in the early 90s - the car underwent an engine change and the original 1956 1600cc motor, number 60562, was replaced by a correct 1600cc engine from 1957. The car also received some bodywork, including new floor pans, a partial nose replacement and the exterior paint was switched from red to white. After years of driving pleasure, Mr. Benz placed his Porsche in a dry storage facility in March of 1999. In 2015, the facility closed and the car was garaged at the owner's home, until Mr. Benz' widow decided to sell the car to the consignor earlier this year. After sitting in dry storage for 16 years, the car was well preserved, but not running. The new owner drained the gas tank and turned the key. That day a new phase of this Porsche's biography began.

The 356A Speedster was Porsche's ultimate expression of the raw sports car. Very few unrestored Speedsters still exist, offering the new caretaker a unique opportunity to create an 'Outlaw', by undertaking some work on the engine, brakes and transmission, to render it a superb participant in any number of significant rally events, such as the Copperstate 1000 Road Rally. Alternatively, working with the solid bones of a 'sleeping beauty' the purist may prefer to restore this car to the original automotive splendor of the 1950's 356A Speedster, and evoke the spirit of Porsche's exotic sports car legacy.

Saleroom notices

  • This Speedster is one of a handful of Pre-A Speedsters, built out of sequence in January of 1956, which featured the 1,600cc, 3-piece case engines that had been used in 356A Coupes and Cabriolets since September of 1955. Since it was built and sold in 1956, it is labeled as a 1956 356A Speedster, even though, technically, it is a Pre-A built by the factory, alongside the new 356A's.
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