The Porsche 356 Speedster was developed at the request of influential automobile importer Max Hoffman, who saw a gap in the US market for a stripped down, lower cost version of the already popular 356 model. Hoffman wanted a German cabriolet that could compete with the popular sports roadsters coming out of England, and his initial suggestion to Porsche was to build a car that resembled a smaller Jaguar XK120 with a lower sticker price than the 356.
The new Speedster was fitted with a smaller removable windscreen (good for weekend racing), simple bucket seats, a minimal folding top, and very little in the way of creature comforts. As was almost always the case, Max Hoffman was right on the money, and the new minimalist Porsche became a popular choice among America’s upwardly mobile petrolheads.
Almost all of the Speedsters were powered by a 60hp, 1582cc, OHV, air-cooled, 4-cylinder boxer engine with twin Solex carburettors, a 4-speed manual transmission, and independent front and rear suspension – that last element being a little unusual for the era.
In recent years we’ve seen surviving Porsche 356 Speedsters enjoying an almost obscene increase in value, to the point where they’re now worth significantly more than a standard 356 – a reversal that would undoubtably make Hoffman proud.
The car you see here was recently uncovered after spending 40 years under a tarpaulin in a Texas garage. It belonged to the same family for 4 decades after being bought secondhand in 1967, its new owners took it on countless road trips including forays into Mexico, before it was parked in the garage – likely with a sentiment that it would be fixed up one day when there was time.
It was recently re-discovered with its matching number engine and surprisingly minimal rust – thanks in part to the dry Texas climate. It’s due to be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s on the 7th of October at the Hershey Sale, and it’s estimated to be worth somewhere in the region of $200,000 to $250,000 USD. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.
Photo Credits: Theodore W. Pieper ©2016 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s