As far as we can tell, this Porsche Speedster is the best Porsche project car for sale in the world at this moment. I know that’s a big claim to make, however this is an authentic numbers-matching Speedster – one of the most important Porsches of its era. It’s being offered with no reserve out of the private Shook Family collection in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The Speedster is in running, driving, and stopping condition. It clearly needs a lot of work but there’s been increasing interest in recent years from enthusiasts and collectors in cars that are totally original and unrestored – as that authenticity is becoming increasingly rare. You can restore a car as many times as you like, but it’s only an unrestored original once.
The story behind the creation of the Porsche Speedster is fascinating. It was conceived not by Porsche but by the legendary Austrian/American auto importer named Max Hoffman. As a European who had immigrated to the United States, Hoffman had unique insight into how to talk to the European automakers, and he had insight into what Americans really wanted to drive.
Hoffman spoke to Porsche and convinced them that they needed to build a less expensive version of the Porsche 356 convertible targeted at young sports-car-mad Americans to compete with all the inexpensive sports cars coming out of Britain. He also convinced them to give it a name rather than just a model number – so they called it the Speedster.
The Speedster had minimal equipment, a cut down windscreen (which could be quickly removed for weekend racing), a simple folding top, and dashboard contained just a speedometer as well as an engine temperature and fuel gauge – though a tachometer and other equipment could be special ordered.
The Porsche Speedster with its raked back windscreen and minimalist, lightweight interior proved a highly capable club racer. Many young Americans used their Speedster as a daily driver and then raced it on the weekends, including James Dean – who owned a Speedster before he bought the Porsche 550 Spyder that he would tragically die in a short time later.
Although it was intended as an inexpensive, entry level Porsche the values of the Speedster have skyrocketed past their 356 Cabriolet siblings. The styling of the Speedster is one of the most loved car designs of the 20th century – so much so that it’s been the target of countless replica manufacturers over the years.
Despite its fame the Speedster was only in production for 3 short years from 1955 to 1958, although Porsche did build a few Carrera Speedsters in 1959. Production peaked in 1957 with 1,416 built, 1958 would see the introduction of the “T2” body design, now highly desirable to collectors.
The 1958 Porsche Speedster Shown Here
The Speedster you see here is a 1958 model, a 356A/1600 model It was originally finished in Ruby Red, equipped with sealed-beam headlights, and it has a speedometer calibrated in miles rather than kilometres. This Speedster was sold through the famous Max Hoffman dealership in New York, it’s now accompanied by a copy of its factory Kardex production record and Porsche Certificate of Authenticity that confirms that it’s matching numbers.
As previously mentioned, the car is running, driving, and stopping. It’ll be up to the new owner whether they undertake a restoration or keep it in its current condition.
If you’d like to read more about this car or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing on Worldwide Auctioneers. It’s due to cross the auction block on the 5th of October and it’s being offered without a reserve.
Images: Worldwide Auctioneers
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