Finished its factory color combination of Black (701) with Red leatherette upholstery. Beautifully straight body with no sign of rust or accident damage. Original decks and doors, original Speedster seats, original door panels, original steering wheel, four (4) original Lemmerz 4 ½ x 15 date coded rims and original Sigla windshield. All knobs, gauges, shift knob, and bezels are original. Mechanically, the matching 1600cc engine runs phenomenally and the 4-speed manual (644) transmission that shifts perfectly. Extraordinary opportunity to purchase this true time capsule with incredible patina.
European Collectibles has been at the forefront of the preserving original Porsches and have supplied many customers with fantastically original cars such as this 1957 Porsche 356A Speedster factory Black with one thin re-paint over 40 years ago and miles of patina. Interest in unrestored cars is at an all-time high and we can’t keep up with demand.
60 horsepower, 1,582cc OHV air-cooled horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with dual Solex carburetors, four-speed manual 644 transmission, independent front suspension with laminated torsion bars, parallel trailing arms, and tubular shock absorbers, independent rear swing axles with torsion bars and tubular shock absorbers, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 82.7 in.
During 1950 Max Hoffman, the sole importer of Porsches in the USA was achieving excellent sales success for the company. He suggested to Ferry Porsche that he could do even better if he had a car that would compete with the imported English sportscars and fit the needs of the American market. He suggested this new model would resemble a small Jaguar XK120 and be available at a more competitive price than the current 356 range.
Hoffman’s sales of 356s in the USA were accounting for a third of all Porsche’s 356 production by 1954 and so the needs of the US market had to be taken seriously by Porsche
British cars like MG, Austin-Healey, and Triumph dominated the American sports car market. Max Hoffman was convinced that cost was the major barrier to achieving significant penetration of the sports car market in the USA. The basic 356 Coupe, for example, cost $300 more than the Jaguar XK120.
Porsche were keen to meet Max Hoffman’s requirements but clearly, a hand-built car with aluminum coachwork was out of the question – it had to be a cut-down version of the 356 cabriolet and it had to be capable of being produced on the same production line as the other 356s. If they removed trimmings and weather protection they might be able to save weight as well as cost – after discussion between Porsche’s Albert Prinzling and Max Hoffman in New York the concept of the Speedster was born.
The Speedster was to have a low, raked windscreen which easily could be removed for weekend racing, bucket seats, and a minimal, folding top, and side curtains instead of wind-up windows.
Ironically the new Speedster kept the same Type 540 designation as the America Roadster but was designed by Reutter for minimum production cost. The spartan cockpit had lightweight bucket seats with fixed backrests. Instrumentation was limited to speedometer and temperature gauge. Technically a heater and tachometer were optional extras designed to keep the magic base price below $3,000. Exterior appearance was standard 356 from the waist down except for attractive full-length chrome side strips running neatly through the door handles.
Typical Speedster advertising by Hoffman in Road and Track, May 1955 – “Years Ahead in Engineering – Miles ahead on the Road.” The advertised price was $2,995