Lot 129: Porsche 356 Pre-A Speedster
Although Ferdinand Porsche had established his automotive design consultancy in the early 1930s his name would not appear on a car until 1949. When it did, it graced one of the all-time great sports cars - the Porsche 356. A cabriolet followed hot on the heels of the original 356 coupé, and then in 1952 a trial batch of 15 roadsters was constructed, their successful reception in the USA leading to the introduction of the Speedster model in 1954.
Instantly recognisable by virtue of its low, wraparound - as opposed to V-shaped - windscreen, smaller and entirely retractable hood, lower door waistline, horizontal trim strip at the level of the door handles, and twin bucket seats - all of which served to emphasise its sporting image - the Speedster was, in effect, an 'economy' model intended to compete with the cheaper British sports cars. The Speedster project had been instigated by Porsche's US importer, the legendary Max Hoffman, who recognised the need for such a model in the North American market.
Powered initially by the 1.5-litre version of Porsche's horizontally opposed four, the Speedster gained the new 1.6-litre, 60bhp engine with the introduction of the improved 356A for 1955. Testing the Speedster alongside its Coupé sibling in 1956, Road & Track magazine reckoned, 'A more comfortable sportscar for long, high-speed journeys would be very hard to find and certainly no other car achieves the combination of comfort, performance and fuel economy of the Porsche Continental Speedster or Coupé.' Its combination of style, performance and value for money made the Speedster deservedly popular - 4,822 examples being constructed between 1954 and '58 - and today this most handsome of the 356 variants enjoys cult status. Of these, none are more collectible than the so-called 'Pre-A' Speedsters, some 1,200 of which were built over a two-year period.
Relatively few of these Pre-A Speedsters exist today and '80715' represents a rare opportunity to acquire a sensibly updated example of this iconic model. An original, rust-free Texas car, it benefits from a no-expense-spared 'rotisserie' restoration followed by 3,000 miles (approximately 4,830 kilometres) of sorting. The stock engine has been replaced with a 1960s-vintage Porsche 912 unit fitted with a 1,760cc big-bore kit, which has raised maximum power to around 130bhp. Needless to say this has brought about a dramatic improvement in performance, top speed increasing from 97mph to over 120 and the 0-60mph time being halved. Front disc brakes have been fitted to cope with the increased performance and the electrical system upgraded to 12-volts, making the car both safer and more reliable.
The current owner purchased the Speedster in August 2009 and since then has driven it only ten miles. '80715' comes fully equipped with tonneau cover and removable side windows, each with its own storage bag. Also included in the sale is a photographic record of certain aspects of the restoration, including the engine rebuild, together with related bills. A well restored, authentic Pre-A Speedster benefiting from sympathetic modifications, this car is a pleasure to drive would be a welcome addition to any enthusiast's collection.
Sale of Sports,Competition & Collectors Motor Cars|
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||€149500|
|Engine capacity (cc)|
|Engine - cylinders|
|Number of doors||2|