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  • Condition 
  • Location
    United Kingdom
  • Exterior colour 


  • One of approximately just 75 GS Speedster examples built between 1954 and 1958
  • Made for export to Max Hoffman’s famed New York distributor
  • Retains its matching-numbers chassis and engine
  • Presented in its factory-correct white hue, with a red interior and black soft top; benefits from an older restoration
  • Equipped with a set of highly desirable Rudge wheels, plus a boot-fitted spare
  • Consigned to auction by a prolific collector of significant race and road cars
  • Accompanied by a copy of the original Kardex sheet, tool kit, Rudge wheel nut spanner, and Certificate of Authenticity issued by Porsche Cars North America

So much of Porsche’s success in the USA can be attributed to one person: Max Hoffman. A wartime immigrant born in Austria, he eventually settled in New York. The money earned from making costume jewellery enabled him to fund his first passion, which was cars. He duly began importing Europe’s finest across the Atlantic before falling in love with the 356, the diminutive new sports car from Porsche. But Hoffman felt that for the model to really take off in America, the marque needed to build a paired-back, more competitively priced version. Accordingly, in 1954, the open-top Speedster was born.

The by-product of this simplicity was low weight, with the model 160 kilograms lighter than its Coupé sister model. That only enhanced the handling, prompting the Speedster to become a smash hit on circuit. Formula 1 race winner and 24 Hours of Le Mans victor, Dan Gurney, plus Hollywood actor and spare-time racer, James Dean, were among the most famous to hit the track. Further helping the model’s performance credentials, a road-tuned version of the four-cam engine found in the giant-killing 550 Spyder thorough-bred race car was then slotted into the 356. In deference to a 1-2 finish in class for the 550 on the 1954 running of the Carrera Panamericana endurance road race, these models carried the “Carrera” name.

Fittingly, given the Speedster configuration of this left-hand-drive 1500 GS (standing for “Grand Sport”) example, chassis 82189 was originally delivered to New York via Hoffman’s renowned dealership in August 1956, as confirmed by a copy of the original Kardex sheet. According to the records of Karrosserie Reutter, this car was finished by the factory in white over black interior trim, with a matching black soft top. During its time stateside, this Speedster was enjoyed for its rev-happy 1.5-litre engine making 101 brake horsepower as it reportedly competed at some of the country’s most celebrated circuits, contesting events at Sebring International Raceway, on the Daytona banking, and at Riverside.

Come 1992, the car was imported to Germany before being bought by Mr Hans Reuter in November of the following year. He commissioned a complete restoration, with chassis 82189 critically retaining its original Type 547/1 engine—a highly desirable and rare distinction given many were either pre-emptively or reactively replaced due to the fragile nature of the motorsport-derived Carrera unit. The car was, at some point, changed to red over a tan interior.

While chassis 82189 is listed as a GS, it boasts some specifications that bridge the gap to the more performance-orientated GT (“Grand Touring”) model, the configuration believed to be original. It was completed without a heater, boasts the correct tachometer that counts all the way up to 8,000 rpm, and features a coveted Weber fuel-pressure regulator.

Understood to have been brought to the UK in the late 1990s, this car has since been subjected to a bare metal respray to return chassis 82189 to its original white hue, while the interior was retrimmed to its current red finish. This example has also been fitted with a set of rare Rudge wheels. Bought in May 2014 by its consigning owner, a collector of significant road and race cars, this Speedster comes with a spare Rudge wheel fitted in the boot, the accompanying wheel nut spanner, plus a tool kit. It is also complemented by a Certificate of Authenticity issued by Porsche Cars North America.

In May 2022, the Speedster was treated to thorough maintenance by marque specialist Maxted-Page. Most notably, an engine-out service was completed, while the brakes and suspension were recommissioned, plus the fuel system was overhauled before the car was submitted for an MoT. The accompanying invoice (available to view on file) totals £15,191.

It is thought that only 75 GS Carrera Speedsters were built between 1954 and 1958. This example is made all the more exclusive by virtue of retaining its original, Solex carburettor-fed, side-oil engine. Chassis 82189 can be enjoyed for its fizzing driving experience and would be a welcome addition at discerning concours d’elegance, especially as Porsche celebrates the 70th anniversary of its defining Carrera Panamericana success.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/auctions/ch24/.

RM Sotheby's
5 Heron Square
United Kingdom
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