The lightweight Speedster was a bare-bones “price-leader” sports car built for U.S. customers who balked at the higher prices of Porsche’s more luxurious coupes and cabriolets.
Quickly, however, Speedsters proved adept in American amateur racing, and they quickly became popular among enthusiasts.
They were available in both “Normal” and more powerful “Super” versions and featured low, removable windshields, thin-shelled bucket seats, basic fabric tops and side curtains, and little else in the way of creature comforts.
Only 1,233 examples of the “pre-A” Speedster were produced in 1954 and 1955.
This 1500 Speedster was delivered March 25, 1955, and was sold new through East Coast distributor Hoffman Imports to the late Dr. Walter Brown, a retired U.S. Army veterinarian who practiced in Columbus, Ohio, for many years.
Dr. Brown admired German technology and was devoted to his Speedster, driving it an average of 3,000 miles a year for about 40 years.
Ill health finally prompted him to park the car in the barn behind his home.
It remained there, untouched, until 2003, when it was acquired by its second owner, Judge James Graham.
Before Judge Graham embarked on an eight-year restoration of this totally original Speedster, the odometer showed less than 130,000 miles.
The last Ohio registration was still in the name of Dr. Brown’s daughter, Hildy.
Porsche 356 restoration expert Ed Pimm at EPR Automotive in Dublin, Ohio, completely disassembled the car and placed it on a “rotisserie” for structural repairs, which included replacing the floor pans, longitudinals, and closing panels.
The rest of the body panels were kept original and were correct to the car, as confirmed by the “426” stamped on the doors, hood, and decklid.
The 16-inch wheels and hubcaps are all original and carry the correct date stamps of “1/55” and “2/55.”
The original 1500 engine, Type 546/2, and original four-speed transmission were disassembled, found to be in good condition, and reassembled with new seals and gaskets.
The car was repainted in its original Signal Red, and the seats were reupholstered in black vinyl with red piping.
She was Fully restored by Carrosserie 88
A new black top and tonneau cover, along with new side curtains, grey carpeting, and other interior materials, were supplied by Autos International.
The light grey steering wheel, control knobs, and other small parts and accessories, including the “shine down” license plate light, rear grille, windshield wiper assembly, original cloth tie-down strap, original hood handle, and all scripts and emblems, were restored by marque expert Vic Miles.
The ignition switch, door handles and locks, and starter button were restored by Tony Euganeo, and Palo Alto Speedometer refurbished the instruments.
A new wiring harness was also installed.
80426 was entrusted to Ed Rutherford at Klasse 356 for a full brake overhaul, including new master and wheel cylinders and lines.
New, period-correct Boge shocks and a new exhaust system were installed, both carburetors were rebuilt, and several rare parts, including a Bakelite blinking turn signal indicator and a correct flat-cap distributor, were sourced.
The consignor states that the car runs strongly, and the transmission shifts smoothly.
This fantastic Speedster has been restored to concours standards and is sure to turn heads wherever it’s shown.
Porsche Speedsters today are one of the most sought-after automobiles among collectors, and this properly restored example, must certainly be among the best available.
55 hp, 1,488 cc rear-mounted, air-cooled, horizontally-opposed OHV four-cylinder engine with two Solex 32 PBI carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with torsion bars, trailing arms, and tubular shock absorbers, independent swing-axle rear suspension with torsion bars and tubular shock absorbers, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 82.7 in.
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