Based on Porsche’s rare and costly Gläser-bodied 356 America Roadster, the 356 Speedster was inspired by legendary and vocal New York Porsche distributor Max Hoffman, who perceived sufficient demand existed for a no-frills Porsche convertible at a lower price. Stuttgart’s Reutter Karosserie revised the America’s bodywork with a higher-waisted style, which soon proved one of Porsche’s most celebrated body designs of all. Priced from $2,995 at its September 1954 debut, the Speedster brought the many joys of Porsche ownership to a wider audience.
Equipped with a removable cut-down windscreen, simple bucket seats, and only a low-profile soft top and side curtains for basic weather protection, the lighter-weight Speedster looked fast while standing still. At speed, it delivered sharper performance, handling, and braking – crucial attributes on the racetrack. Instruments consisted of only a speedometer and an engine-temperature gauge, with a tachometer and heater optional.
In keeping with Porsche’s unique enthusiast-based philosophy, the Speedster was capable of being driven daily then taken to the track on weekends, quickly prepared, and successfully raced, earning a formidable winning reputation in American SCCA competition in the process. Some 200 Speedsters were built initially, but the next year, 1955, production exceeded 1,000 to meet demand. Later, in 1955, the updated 356 A arrived, with myriad refinements distancing it from its humbler Volkswagen roots and a larger 1,600 cc engine providing a welcome power boost. Just 2,922 Speedsters were built in total, including 552 for 1958. Quick, nimble, and above all fun to drive, the Speedster’s startling simplicity, rakish flair, and ultramodern avant-garde attitude made it an instant hit with younger buyers. Today, the Speedster mystique is stronger than ever.
Numbered 84243, this 1958 Porsche 356 A Speedster is equipped with a highly desirable 1600 Super engine delivering brisk performance. Simply striking in black over green upholstery and gray square-weave carpeting, this compelling Speedster is enhanced by a black canvas convertible top and original Rudge knock-off wheels. It continues to benefit handsomely from a professional restoration performed by noted West Coast experts. Among them were Racecraft of Woodinville, Washington, where the metalwork and assembly were completed, with the paint finish and undercoating applied by Liquid Reflections in Seattle. Squire’s Autowerke, located in Bellevue, Washington, rebuilt the Speedster’s engine and transaxle. The interior restoration, top installation, and detailing were completed by Hjeltness Restoration in Escondido, California, and the side curtains and tonneau cover were supplied by Autos International, also of Escondido. The Speedster’s rare and valuable Rudge knock-off wheels were restored at The Machine Shop in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Rare and featuring an excellent restoration in a unique livery, this 1958 Porsche 356 A Speedster is a simply compelling find in all possible respects.