Driven by ‘Ferry’ Porsche’s notion for small, lightweight sportscars with more power, the first 356 was registered in June 1948, soon competing and winning its first race at Innsbruck.
Amongst the most radical of 356 models was undoubtedly the legendary ‘Speedster’, introduced in late 1954 at the persuasion of New York-based Austrian, Max Hoffman.
Then the sole US importer for Porsche, he convinced the factory that there was a need for a stripped-down, sportier model that could be used on both the road and track.
Chassis number: 84748
Engine: 1.6-litre OHV flat 4-cylinder
Gearbox: 4-speed manual
When the Speedster was introduced in 1954, much of the equipment from the standard 356 was replaced.
The new trim included removable side panels, a cut-down windscreen, bucket seats and a basic folding roof.
By 1958, sales of the Speedster had begun to dwindle and the model was eventually replaced by the more refined Convertible D, the basis of the later Roadster models.
Our car is a 1958 example, fitted with a larger 1600cc engine and other later updates, such as the upgraded steering box.
The car spent much of its life in the US Northwest, owned by the same family for almost 20 years until 2009, when it was imported into the UK.
It still retains its original colour of ‘Ruby Red’, with additional features such as the Sebring Mach I mirror, chrome wheels and quad outlet sport exhaust fitted in a previous restoration.
The engine casing has no serial numbers but appears to be of original type with correct 356 cases.
If we were asked to list the five most significant Porsches of all time, the 356 Speedster would be amongst them.
The simplicity of its low windscreen design screams mellow intent. This feeling of purity is confirmed once in the car, with the simple racing bucket seats, wood-rimmed wheel and a rorty engine note. Braking, steering and handling are all in line with one’s high expectations of this iconic car.
It is not the last word in concours presentation but looks fabulous in bright ‘Ruby Red’ and is ready to go mechanically. A great car to use and enjoy and – perhaps one day – restore.