This 1957 Porsche 356A Speedster 1600 Super completed it’s travels through the factory assembly lines on March 19, 1957. That makes this T1 model 356 one of the last of it’s kind in production, as Reutter delivered the first Speedster body with T2 model teardrop taillights to Porsche on March 25, 1957. Destined for the U.S. market, this car was then imported into the United States by Max Hoffman’s renown Porsche dealership in New York.
The details of first ownership are unknown, with the exception of the departing sale to the second owner, Tom Granich, was made in Glassboro, New Jersey. Tom owned the car until August 9, 1963, when he sold it to his nephew, Thomas Moses, under the stipulation that if he ever sold it, Granich would be given first opportunity to buy the car back.
Tom Granich did just that on February 20, 1970. However, during the 7 years that Thomas Moses had ownership, he sadly neglected the car. This provoked Tom to aspire in restoring the car back to its original greatness with the help of his son Frank Granich. During his time of aspiration, the car traveled extensively with Tom, being trailered to Washington Township, New Jersey, Woodbury, New Jersey, then to Scottsdale, Arizona and Peoria, Arizona. The car made its final stop under Tom’s ownership in Ottsville, Pennsylvania, where sadly Tom passed away. With Tom’s passing, all aspirations of restoring the car were also brought to a close. His son Frank then sold the car in its original unrestored condition on August 13, 2001 to the current owner.
When the car was purchased from the Granich family on August 13, 2001, it was 99% complete and original. The car was straight and true with no accident damage. It did however have a great deal of rust, primarily in the floor pans. The car had been sitting for decades and it would require a great deal of labor and love to return it to what it once was when it left the factory in Germany.
Starting December of 2002, the car began a complete and exceptionally detailed restoration. Maintaining originality and authenticity, while upholding a parallel caliper of quality craftsmanship to match, were the essential keystones of the entire transformation. With the exception of the metal and paint work, the entire restoration, including the engine and transmission build, were completed at Specialty Cars in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Everything on the car was restored back to its originality, down to every last piece of replated original hardware. Metal and paint work was meticulously executed at Precision Motor Cars in Allentown, Pennsylvania; now the NB Center for American Automotive Heritage. The NB Center is also home to the Historic Vehicle Association’s National Automotive Heritage Laboratory.
During the restoration, only a few desirable cosmetic modifications were made to the car’s originality. The original steering wheel was put into safe keeping and replaced with an original 16 inch flat Derrington wood steering wheel; an embellishment to the interior that speaks for itself. An exceptionally rare and complete set of five period correct Rudge knock-off wheels were sourced, restored and adorned on the car; a true gem to the exterior. Glacier White (5713) was the factory original paint color of this car, a special order paint color, of which only 11 Speedsters were painted. During the restoration, the paint color was changed to Ivory (5704). The headlights were upgraded to a set of new old stock Bosch European headlights, which were restored prior to being installed. Lastly the interior carpet was changed in color from Oatmeal to Black.
As for the engine restoration, a number of upgrades were made during the build to ensure longevity and performance. The crankshaft was updated to a late 1963 356 B (crossed drilled oiler) crank, which was micro polished and balanced, then balanced again with the flywheel, pressure plate and front pulley. Standard rod and main bearings were installed, along with a matched set of 912 connecting rods that were reconditioned and balanced end to end. The camshaft and lifters were also updated to the better wide lobe 912 camshaft and lifters and reconditioned. The engine oil cooler was updated to an improved aluminum oil cooler. The rocker stands were updated to the later, stronger aluminum rocker stands and the rockers were reconditioned as well. JE 83mm 9.25 CR pistons were installed. The cast iron cylinders were reconditioned and fitted to the new JE pistons. The cylinder heads where CC’d and matched, as well as the intake and exhaust ports. Accompanying the engine restoration was the complete transmission restoration, with all new bearings, synchro rings, seals and gaskets.
With ample perseverance, after 6 years, the restoration came to a gratifying and celebrated completion in July of 2008. The following year, the car took first place at the 2009 Burn Prevention Foundation Concours d’Elegance of the Eastern United States. Then in 2014, the car took first place at the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance. Since the restoration’s completion in 2008, only a total of 221 miles have been accumulated on the car.
Maintaining the same dignified charm and renowned character as it had when leaving Germany in 1957, this car is truly a spectacular piece of history and an exceptional example of the Porsche 356A Speedster. With such outstanding character, preserved originality and precision of execution, this car would make an exquisite addition and shine in any automobile collection. In the same breath, this outstanding Porsche would make an excellent weekend or special occasion driver, as it was built for longevity and to be driven. Whatever the aspiration may be for owning and driving this remarkable piece of history, it is certain to be a driving experience unparalleled by any other marque and one that leaves a life lasting impression.
Mark Burkit from Specialty Cars Service Center looks forward to your questions and is happy to help you.
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