1954 Porsche 356 Speedster Signal Red

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From 1954 to 1958, Porsche built a racier, stripped down version of their 356 sports car. Porsche's U.S. Distributor Max Hoffman suggested that Porsche build a car focused on performance that would sell for $3000. The lightweight Speedster had few amenities and even lacked rollup windows and glass, but in the end it weighed about 230 lbs less than the regular Coupe.

200 Speedsters were built in that first year, which makes this Pre-A Speedster quite rare.

This car will be sold by Mecum Auctions in Monterey, California on August 18-20, 2016, right before the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance on August 21.

---- Specifications ----
Price $3010 Production 200
Engine 1.5 liter flat-four Weight --
Aspiration -- Torque --
HP -- HP/Weight --
HP/Liter -- 1/4 mile --
0-62 mph -- Top Speed --

(from Mecum Auctions Press Release) 1954 Porsche 356 Speedster Signal Red

  • One of 200 356 Speedsters produced in 1954
  • Porsche Certificate of Authenticity
  • Same owner for last 16 years
  • Upgraded Porsche 356 engine, no. 604369, rebuilt by Harry 'The Maestro' Pellow
  • Original 546/2 engine included, no. 33986
  • Original transmission
  • Believed to be 52,203 original miles
  • Signal Red with Black leatherette interior
  • Original 6 volt system
  • Knecht air filters
  • Restored original gas tank
  • New Bosch ignition switch
  • Restored original ignition switch included
  • Rebuilt brake system
  • New torsion bar and suspension bushings
  • Original seats and interior
  • Original unrestored wood instrument shade
  • Owner's manual

This amazing 1954 Porsche Speedster is rare - one of just 200 Pre-A examples built, and it comes with a numbers matching engine and transmission. Porsche built the Speedster at the bequest of Max Hoffman, the sole U.S. distributor for Porsche during the era. His directive was to build a minimalist Porsche that could sell at the $3,000 price point to challenge the plethora of inexpensive British sports cars. Porsche responded by taking a cabriolet body and making the following changes; installing a laid back and low slung removable windshield, removing the side window glass and winding mechanism and replacing with simple side curtains, exchanging the touring seats with racing style buckets, substituting the elegant retractable cloth top with a simple but rudimentary vinyl top and simplifying the dashboard with a three gauge cluster. The new Speedster sold for $2,995 P.O.E. (Port of Entry) but was equipped with a mandatory $15 tachometer option, making the base price $3,010. Not only was it an immediate sales success, the racing community was thrilled that the new affordable Porsche was the perfect platform for competition: it weighed 230 pounds less than the Coupe and had a more streamlined shape by virtue of its lower windscreen. This car is an amazing example of the early Pre-A 356 Speedster. The original matching-numbers 1500cc type 546 /2 engine is included with the car, as is the original transmission. However, this Speedster currently has a later 356 engine rebuilt by Harry “The Maestro” Pellow installed for more spirted performance. The early vintage of this Speedster is reflected in the period correct narrow wheels–3 ½ x 16-inch–and the wooden eye brow over the instrument cluster. The cockpit features the original seats, interior and unrestored wood instrument shade. A rebuilt brake system and upgraded suspension with a new torsion bar and bushings provide better than new ride and handling. In the care of the same owner for the past 16 years, this Pre-A Speedster presents a great opportunity for any Porschephile.