1. 1958 Porsche 356A/1600 Speedster

  2. 1958 Porsche 356A/1600 Speedster

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Lot Number
29
Body by Reutter
1958 Porsche 356A/1600 Speedster
The Pacific Grove Auction

ESTIMATE: $450,000 - $550,000
CHASSIS NO: 83881
• Matching numbers example with only three owners from new
• Highly desirable T2 Final year production Speedster
• A rare and iconic Porsche model in high collector demand
• Accompanied by Certificate of Authenticity issued by Porsche
• Expertly restored both cosmetically and mechanically

1,582 cc air-cooled, OHV horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine, 75 HP, four-speed fully-synchronized manual gearbox, four-wheel independent suspension with parallel trailing arms, transverse laminated torsion bars and anti-roll bar at front, rear swing axles with transverse torsion bars, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 82.7"


Based on Porsche’s attractive but expensive Gläser-bodied 356 America roadster, development of the 356 Speedster was spurred by New York-based Porsche distributor Max Hoffman, who correctly realized sufficient demand existed for a no-frills, Porsche convertible at a lower price. Stuttgart’s Reutter Karosserie revised the America’s bodywork, which proved to be one of Porsche’s all-time most celebrated designs. Debuted in 1954, the Speedster was equipped with a removable windscreen, simple bucket seats, a cut-down windscreen, and only a small top and side curtains for weather protection, yet the lightweight Speedster delivered noticeably sharper performance and handling. Instruments consisted only of a speedometer and temperature gauge, with a tachometer and heater optional to hold the price down, just $2,995 when introduced in New York. Envisioned as a vehicle capable of being driven daily then taken to the track and successfully raced on weekends, the Speedster immediately built a formidable reputation in American SCCA competition. On the street, its rakish flair and ultra-modern attitude made it an instant hit that continues to captivate Porsche enthusiasts today. Some 200 were built initially, but the next year production exceeded 1,000 to meet demand. Late in 1955, the 356 received its first major revision to the updated 356A, with the engine growing to 1,600 cc. Speedster production eventually peaked at 1,416 units for 1957 and just 2,922 were built in all.

This late-production 1958 Porsche 356A/1600 Speedster is particularly desirable with its one year only “T2” body style. It was completed on October 8, 1957 and equipped with options including sealed beam headlights, a speedometer calibrated in miles per hour, and USA-specification bumpers. Believed to have been sold new in Texas, 83881 was originally delivered in Silver Metallic paint with red leatherette upholstery, a red boot cover, plus whitewall tires. The original owner retained the Speedster for some 40 years, and it is accompanied at auction with a wonderful period color photograph of the owner’s daughter in her Sunday dress with the Speedster, their lovely mid-Century Modern home and a Hudson Hornet in the background. The Speedster was sold during the early 2000s to an Ohio-based collector, although the car remained in Texas for restoration. The comprehensive restoration, with the exception of the mechanicals, was completed during 2008 but, before the car could be shipped to Ohio, the then-owner passed away. The third and current Californian owner purchased the Speedster from his heirs and stands technically as the second owner to have ever driven the car. The Speedster remains true to its Porsche Certificate of Authenticity with the exception of a more attractive black top-boot cover. The current owner had the engine and gearbox rebuilt in 2009-2010 by Scott Hendry of Scott’s Automotive in Anaheim, California. With some $150,000 invested, receipts for all restoration work are included in the sale of this great example. Given Mr. Hendry’s well-deserved reputation as a highly regarded Porsche mechanic, the Speedster is offered in exceptional operating and driving order. Of note, when the Speedster’s original, matching numbers 1600 engine was rebuilt, it was uprated to ‘1600 Super’ specification, and likely delivers even more power and is still mated to its original gearbox. In 2017, the owner took to additional restoration of suspension, brakes and new tires were installed. The presently indicated miles on the car were accumulated since the engine rebuild, and the odometer now shows about 5,000 miles.

Retaining the matching numbers engine and gearbox, this exceptionally presented, rare, and immensely collectible 1958 Porsche 356A T2 Speedster also features the original number-stamped hood and doors, date-stamped fuel-level sending unit, handsome Nardi steering wheel, side curtains, and tool kit. No worthy sports car collection is complete without a quality 356 Speedster and this example is certainly one of the finest available.

1958 Porsche 356A/1600 Speedster
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