1958 Porsche 356
- Kilometerstand3 228 mi / 5 195 km
Nicely Restored Original Silver/Red Late Production Speedster with Many Options Including Rear Seat
1958 Porsche 356 A Speedster
s/n 84403, engine no. P*68297*
Silver with Red Leather and Tartan Inserts
Despite their humble Volkswagen-based beginnings, Porsche cars were by the 1950s already well on their way to establishing the company as the uncompromised motorsports leader that it remains today. Built to race and raced to win, the Porsche cars of this period were making their mark in America when US Porsche distributor Max Hoffman asked for an elemental sports car that could compete against low priced Triumphs and MGs. Porsche set out to build a car with essential performance traits, sparse features, and a level of reliability and durability unheard of in British sports cars. The resulting car, the Speedster, was priced under $3,000 and delivered all this and more, creating a legendary car that is one of the most often replicated cars of all time. The lowered windscreen, side curtains, minimal trim, and the resulting light weight and performance capability coupled with the low price all culminated in surprisingly strong sales, particularly in the United States, where Speedster performance and simplicity won the hearts of racers and enthusiasts alike. Today, the iconic 356 Speedster still holds a distinguished position as one of the most desirable vintage Porsches ever made, not only amongst enthusiasts but frequently cited by historians, designers, and motorsports journalists as one of the most influential sports cars of twentieth century.
The Speedster evolved through its production run, eventually culminating in this, the 1958 model with enlarged 1600cc engine. This car embodies all the attributes of the iconic Speedster. According to the Porsche Certificate of Authenticity, this car was delivered new in silver metallic with red leatherette interior and was ordered for North American delivery with a host of options including a cigarette lighter, sealed beam headlamps, rear seats, windshield washer system, tonneau cover, coupe seats, US bumpers, and Ponto outside mirror. The car remained in the US, eventually being used in the 1970s as a competitive hill climb car and autocross car with then owner Robert Horn, Texas. Horn kept the car in competitive running condition, removing the bumpers and painting it red. He rebuilt the engine with a mild cam and higher compression ratio and improved the brakes, using it for many years until selling it in 1997 to a well known aerodynamic engineer and early commercial pioneer of Computational Fluid Dynamics. Specializing in CFD code derived for automotive applications, his company eventually worked with Porsche AG providing calculations for the 956 and 962 race cars that would dominate sports car racing for most of the 1980s and into the 1990s. Having been a Porsche enthusiast already, the new owner used his car for pleasure, driving it throughout the Seattle spring and summer seasons as he refined ideas for creating the ideal Speedster. In 1999, he started a five-year outlaw style restoration. Modifications included dual headrests, roll bar, SC engine and transmission, and Fuchs 6x15 wheels. In this configuration, the car would win both First Place in Track/Autocross class at the PCOA Pacific Northwest Region Concours and First Place, Judges Choice July 30, 2006. After participating in the 50th Anniversary Porsche Speedster Event, the car’s outlaw build evolved further in 2007. The headrest fairing was redesigned as was the more integrated roll bar. Under the hood, a Willhoit twin-plug engine was installed. A 2008 Excellence magazine article features the car in this configuration, detailing the history of the car and the modifications.
In October 2011, this Speedster participated in the Porsche Race Car Classic and Rennsport IV, this time configured with vintage American Racing mag wheels, no bumpers, custom closure plates, and custom front bumper bars with driving/fog lamps. In June 2014, the car participated in the PCA Monterey Parade and Concours with the factory bumpers installed. Having had a great deal of fun with his Speedster and performing much of the work himself. The owner decided to return the car back to the original factory configuration. He embarked on a year-long professional restoration, completed in 2015 addressing every detail, finish, and component with the same precision engineering applied to his work in computational aerodynamics.
During the restoration, the car was photographed and documented as it was rotisserie media blasted, and all areas of the body were addressed with proper repairs performed as needed. Two coats of Por 15 were used on the top and bottom of the car with Por 15 self-etching primer and 3M sealer in the interior, trunk, and engine compartment. Por 15 chassis black was used along with two coats of Tie-Coat primer and 3M quick and flex seam sealer. Before being removed from the rotisserie, the chassis floor was coated with Wurth SK5 Stone Guard black, applying two coats in the fender wells for added durability and protection. Fully prepared, primed, and sealed, the car was shipped to the paint shop where correct Porsche Metallic Silver paint was applied. The restoration was documented as the engine and transmission were rebuilt to exacting factory standards. Gleaming in silver over red interior with tasteful plaid seat inserts, the completed car revealed a Speedster of such refinement, one would be hard pressed to find a more suitable representation of Porsche excellence, especially considering the important and documented history dating back more than 40 years.
Today, this Speedster presents in stunning colors with excellent paint finish with just the right amount of metallic carefully laid over beautiful bodywork throughout. The panel gaps and fit are very good to excellent in all areas, opening and closing smoothly, particularly the doors, which shut with the distinctive and satisfying Porsche sound of precision. The car is trimmed with stone guards over the headlights and outfitted with most of the correct options as delivered from the factory. Glass, lenses, emblems, and trim are all quintessentially Porsche and restored to a high level in both fit and finish. The gleaming domed chrome hubcaps accent against correctly painted silver wheels, while the painted bumpers and various gold finished script lettering finish the exterior off with a touch of elegance. The chrome trim is very good across the board, and the entire restoration is consistent with a nicely mellowed driver level car that is ideal to drive and enjoy without fear of ruining it.
The interior is beautifully finished with quality materials including proper tan square weave carpeting and side trim, and high quality red leather over the front Speedster and optional rear seats. The dash, door panels, and cockpit perimeter are trimmed in red as well, while the seat inserts are attractively finished in Tartan. Given that the car was originally delivered with coupe seats, it is believed that the Speedster currently installed are reproduction items. The instruments are gorgeous in color and finish, having been faithfully restored with correct green indication, proper needles, while mercifully preserving the lightly yellowed odometer numbers. The elegant and simple dash is finished off with a handsome steering wheel with matching horn ring and gleaming Porsche center crest. Throughout the interior, all materials offer a unified appearance, exceptional fit and finish, all of which create a wonderfully evocative place to spend time.
The engine compartment houses the faithfully restored engine, which shows correct factory finishes, proper hardware and fittings, correct factory decals, hoses, wiring, and linkages. Attention to detail extends to the proper finishes on the raw engine castings and correctly painted components. The engine number stamping matches the CoA and has been with the car in the hands of the previous two owners for over 20 years. In the front storage compartment, 84403 is correctly stamped on the structural support apron. Finishes here as well are factory correct and very nicely done including a correctly matching spare wheel and tire. The underside of the car is further evidence of exceptional care and correct restoration with excellent detailing and proper finishes that show only mild indication of use and superb structural condition.
The car starts reliably and easily, settling into a smooth idle as it warms up. The original gearbox (no. 17881 noted on the CoA) has been properly rebuilt and operates wonderfully up and down with smooth synchros, warm or cold and good clutch function. The driving experience communicates all the joys and engagement that a properly restored 356 is capable of offering. The chassis is solid and communicative while acceleration is brisk as the engine winds up into the higher revs without hesitation or misfire. Braking is in keeping with the period, although there is some vibration present which suggests that the drums may need to be turned. The car comes with Porsche Certificate of Authenticity, original manuals, and detailed photographic documentation of the restoration and prior outlaw iterations.
Historically remarkable and highly sought after today, the iconic Porsche 356 Speedster remains so admired because of the conceptual clarity and purity of these fine cars. Clothed in a stunning design, executed with legendary engineering, and restored to high standards, this well-optioned Speedster is ready for enjoyable events or touring in one of the best-loved classic cars of all time.