car on sale
Porsche 356 1500 Speedster
ASI Targa Oro
The Porsche 356 Speedster, one of the most iconic versions of the Porsche 356 series, was originally designed to meet the demands of the American automotive market.
A product of Ferry Porsche’s ingenuity, the 356 had its roots in his father’s Volkswagen concept. Similar to the immortal ‘Beetle,’ the 356 shared a platform chassis with an air-cooled rear engine and independent torsion bar suspension. In 1951, an official model from the company secured first place in its class up to 1,100cc at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, marking the beginning of Porsche’s long and successful relationship with the La Sarthe circuit.
Through continuous development, the 356 engine progressively grew from 1.3 to 1.5 liters. The originally split windshield was replaced with a one-piece version, and the transmission embraced a synchronized Porsche gearbox. Shortly after the original 356 Coupe, a Cabriolet version was introduced. In 1952, at the request of US importer Max Hoffman, 15 prototypes of an open car called the “America Roadster” were built for the American market. This episode attests to Hoffman’s persuasive potential in convincing Porsche about the profitability of a simplified, affordable car. The enthusiastic reception in the United States led, in 1954, to the introduction of the Speedster model.
The inspiration for the Speedster is also credited to John Von Neumann, the Porsche distributor for the West Coast, who had modified a Gmünd-built coupe in the late ’40s, transforming it into a lightweight racing machine.
Immediately recognizable by its low, wraparound windshield, contrasting the normal V-shaped design, with a smaller fully retractable roof, a lowered door line, a distinctive horizontal notch at the handle height, and embracing bucket seats, all features that emphasize its sporty image. The Speedster, in essence, represented an “economical” model aimed to compete with more accessible English sports cars.
Initially powered by a 1.5-liter flat-four Porsche engine, it later received a new 1.6-liter, 60-horsepower engine in 1955, with the launch of the improved 356A. Priced at $2,995, the Speedster was the lightest among the 356 models, benefiting from new performance capabilities that allowed it to reach 160 km/h (100 mph). These performances, combined with its renowned handling, made the Speedster an immediate icon in the thriving American motorsport scene.
The specimen we offer, one of the very early chassis, is currently in excellent condition, having undergone a significant total restoration by Porsche specialists. The red leather interiors were restored by Selleria Ferraresi, as well as the complete hood with original side windows. It’s a matching number and matching color car, ASI Targa Oro approved, and ready to be driven.