1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster
Year of manufacture1956
- A fully restored, meticulously presented sports car icon
- Silbermetall over black leather; black manual top
- Numbers-matching engine and transmission
- Upgraded brakes, electricals, and interior
- Offered with Kardex, spare wheel, jack, cabin tonneau cover, and side curtains
Without this little roadster, one could argue that Porsche would have never taken off in the fiercely competitive U.S. market. The car’s low-slung and focused looks appealed to sports car enthusiasts, and its price of just under $3,000 helped to get Speedsters off the showroom floors and out onto the open road. Boasting few creature comforts but excellent driving characteristics, it helped cement Porsche’s reputation in the United States and earned it a hugely desirable portion of the sports car market. The cockpit contained a pair of light semi-competition bucket seats with ventilated but non-adjustable backrests. Speedsters, as importer Max Hoffman had demanded, were stripped of just about everything else. Even the tachometer was “optional at extra cost,” though every Speedster had one. The result was a sophisticated sports car that was easily put into racing trim.
Soon, these hand-assembled Speedsters were dominating the American amateur racing scene. At the outset, they were equipped with a 1.5-liter engine, but soon larger and more powerful motors became available, up to and including the potent but very complex Fuhrmann-designed four-cam Carrera. The 1600 “Normal” engines produced about 60 horsepower, the Super was good for 75, and the Carrera engine made an easy 100 or more.
This 1956 Posrche 356 A 1600 Speedster was recently restored in Silbermetall over a black interior with a black top. Originally finished on February 17, 1956 in a Rubinrot exterior, this lot’s accompanying Porsche documentation establishes the presence of this chassis’ numbers-matching engine and transmission.
Acquired by the consignor in 2006 from a Phoenix-based Porsche enthusiast, this 356 A benefits from a number of tasteful updates completed during this ownership. The interior has been refitted in black leather and charcoal grey carpets courtesy of noted Porsche interior specialists, Autos International of Escondido, California. Other features noted by the consignor include a set of upgraded disc brakes from Custom Speed Parts and rear camber regulator from Vic Skirmant’s 356 Enterprises of North Branch, Michigan. The consignor has also noted an earlier overhaul of the four-speed transaxle. Lastly, the original 6-volt electrical components have been updated to 12-volt circuitry.
Simply put, no collection would be complete without a Porsche Speedster. It is an equal in automotive design and history as the Ferrari California Spider and Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, but it further benefits from practicality and ease of use—which makes it as perfect for running errands as handling twisty mountain roads.
This charming Speedster is now offered with a spare wheel, jack, cabin tonneau cover, and side curtains. The seller reports that the engine has recently benefitted from a carburetor tune-up, fluid flush, and safety check in preparation for receipt by its next custodian.To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mo20.