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Max Hoffman, the legendary New York distributor of imported cars, had a good sense of the emerging American market for sports models. Having garnered the East Coast franchise for Porsche, he did well selling early 356s, and he had not failed to notice the popularity of the Jaguar XK-120. His wariness only intensified with the introduction of the Austin-Healey Hundred in 1953, which sold for $2,895, a full $1,400 less than the cheapest Porsche.
Hoffman proposed to Ferry Porsche that a sportier, more basic variant, to sell at a lower price, would bring dividends. Thus was born the 356 Speedster, planned specifically for the American market. Reutter & Co., of Stuttgart, with whom Porsche already had a close relationship, supplied the body and helped with engineering, for economic purposes. A low, raked windshield was made removable for racing, and light bucket seats replaced the standard type. Side windows were omitted entirely—owners had to rely on side curtains. The top was very basic, and the only instruments were a speedometer and a temperature gauge. The tachometer and heater were optional, helping to keep the basic price under $3,000, when delivered in New York.
The Speedster was an immediate hit. Sales hit 1,800 by the time the updated 356A model was introduced in late-1955. More than 4,700 were built by the time the Speedster was phased out in favor of the Drauz-built Cabriolet D in 1958.
This T2A Speedster presents splendidly in silver with a black top. It was restored by Porsche specialist Tom Drummond from an original California car that had been stored for many years. Since restoration the car has covered only approximately 1,000 miles and has just received a major service by Roger Bray and a full engine rebuild.
One of the most coveted of 356 Porsches, the Speedster, with its squat stance, is unmistakable on the road. This one is exceptional even among Speedsters. The car is UK road registered and available to view immediately.