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 favour of the Drauz-built Cabriolet D in 1958. Due to the overwhelming success of the model in the USA, European examples were rare and have now become highly desirable. RHD Variants are rarer still with less than 30 RHD examples being built.
This RHD 356A Speedster was manufactured in 1958 in Germany and delivered new to South Africa where its first owner purchased the car via Lindsay Saker Motors (South Africa) when it was presented in Light Ivory. The car was delivered with a type 644 Synchromesh gearbox and was fitted with USA spec shock absorbers. There were only 11 RHD Speedsters delivered to South Africa and the later cars were assembled after shipping. However, this car being only the second example supplied to South Africa was dispatched as a completed car making it very rare indeed . The car spent its life in the warm and dry South African climate, before arriving in the UK in 2012. It had had just one owner since 1979, a Mr Van Der Walt of Pretoria, who purchased the car in 1979 and at that time it still had the remote oil tank on board (evidence from an early racing career when the car had a different motor fitted) and was Yellow in colour.
Mr Van Der Walt had restored the car for himself and repainted it Maroon, servicing the engine every year. In the 34 years he subsequently owned the car, it was driven a mere 2,400 miles. Upon arrival in the UK, this remarkable car underwent a complete and comprehensive restoration at a cost in excess of £130,000 at the 356 Porsche specialist Roger Bray. At the time of restoration an upgraded motor was fitted along with Rudge wheels to make it more adapt to modern motoring and of course more pleasing to the eye; it has been finished in the exact original colour combination as according to its Kardex. Following the restoration, the car has received limited use meaning it remains in concours condition and is ready to be enjoyed by its next owner. A rare opportunity to acquire one of the rarest and most sought after 356s available.
The DK™ Logo and DK Engineering™ are registered trade marks of D.K. Engineering (Holdings) Limited
© Copyright 2021 - All Rights Reserved