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 100 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.
This superb matching numbers example was completed at the Porsche factory on the 21st of December 1956, supplied originally in Red over Black Leatherette as a 60 horse power, 1,582 cc example with the attractive "bee-hive" rear lights. It was also fitted with Sealed Beam Headlights and USA bumpers. Fast forward to recent times, the car was purchased as a complete running example from a long term owner and starting in 2013 (over a 24-month period) it was restored by marque specialist, European Collectibles, in California. The car was subject to a full disassembly and bare metal respray to concours standards, it has now been finished in the elegant and stunning period-correct colour combination of Stone Grey over Red Leather, with a set of five correct, date-coded steel wheels. During the restoration this 356 was completely disassembled so that every aspect could be properly addressed. Everything has been rebuilt including the 1600cc engine, 644 manual 4-speed transmission and drum brake system.
Inspected and approved by renowned marque specialist Andy Prill prior to the purchase of this car by the current owner, a fastidious gentleman, ensured that all the final fittings were as per the original specification. Since his purchase it has been serviced and maintained by Andy Prill and his team in the UK.
Now offered with full UK registration, and a history file including an extremely detailed photographic record of the restoration, tools, books, side curtains, boot cover and Certificate of Authenticity from Porsche confirming matching numbered body panels, drive-train.
This is truly one of the best 1957 model year Speedsters that you will find with in our opinion no issues and in as restored condition; this 356 Speedster is UK registered and ready to be used or shown immediately.