Lot 348

Monterey 2023

1957 Porsche 356 A Carrera GT Speedster by Reutter


$1,350,000 - $1,650,000 USD | Not Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Chassis No.
Engine No.
US Title
  • Extremely rare and desirable ‘Four-Cam’ GS/GT Speedster
  • Equipped with matching-numbers 1500 GT engine
  • Delivered new through US distributor Max Hoffman
  • Fully restored to the highest level; includes rare, steel Speedster hardtop
  • Accompanied by a copy of its Kardex, Porsche Certificate of Authenticity, and extensive history file
Addendum: Please note the title for this lot is in transit. A 4-6 week delay is expected.

Porsche’s brilliant and immortal 356 Speedster has become one of the most collectable sports cars in history, but even in that select group—barely 4,000 were built over five years—the most exotic were the handful powered by the complex four-cam engine designed by a young factory engineer named Dr. Ernst Führmann in his spare time.

Führmann’s masterpiece, an alloy-cased, double-overhead-camshaft engine with a roller-bearing crankshaft, was designed as a full-on racing powerplant. It utilized dry-sump lubrication and dual ignition, with a pair of distributors being driven off the intake cams and a pair of switches on the dashboard allowing for individual testing of the twin coils. The “Four-Cam,” as it is popularly referred to today, first appeared in the company’s mid-engine 550 Spyders of the early 1950s. Developing about 110 horsepower in racing tune, roughly twice the output of the company’s similarly sized pushrod engines, this intriguing 1.5-liter powerplant would take on the punishing Carrera Panamericana road races of 1953, 1954, and 1955.

After proving itself as a “giant killer” in Mexico, winning against larger, more powerful competitors, Porsche installed a slightly de-tuned version of the racing Type 547/1 engine—now known as the “Carrera”—in road-legal 356 coupes, cabriolets, and Speedsters, dubbing them the “GS.”

Offered here is a wonderfully restored example of a Carrera 1500 GS/GT Speedster. The authoritative Heinrich/Sprenger volume on Carreras reveals that this Speedster was completed on 23 July 1957 and delivered to noted luxury-car importer Max Hoffman’s New York dealership in “lightened” form. The Speedster was finished in Silver Metallic with a Black leatherette interior; the front floor was covered with black rubber mats, while the rear floor area was covered in “crushed black vinyl.” The deep Speedster bucket seats with aluminum frames included Beige (Perle) corduroy inserts. The thin black canvas folding top with its bows was completely removable. The car’s factory Kardex reflects one service carried out on 25 October 1957 at the same dealership.

Although it is listed in the Heinrich/Sprenger tome, little is known of this car’s early history prior to the early 1980s, when it was acquired by noted Four-Cam authority Weldon Scrogham. According to a bill of sale dated 28 December 1981, Scrogham sold the car to import service shop owner Reid Vann in St. Louis, Missouri. At that time, the car was lacking its original engine, number 90858, but the bill of sale interestingly included a few handwritten notes regarding the prior owners of the correct engine. Mr. Vann traced the correct engine to another individual in an attempt to reunite it with its original chassis, but that individual was unwilling to part with it at that time. Vann then reached out to the late Four-Cam expert Al Cadrobbi of California, who supplied a series-correct and slightly later engine, number 90869. Vann also mentioned that he had new floors installed.

On 8 January 1988, Vann sold the Speedster to James W. “Bill” Brown of Lincoln, Nebraska, who commissioned Joe Harris at Sanders Antique Auto in Rockford, Illinois, to finish the metalwork and repaint the car. The interior restoration was sent for completion and the car was offered for sale in 1995. It was described as restored, but with engine number 90869. The sale included the original crankcase (90858 GT), which had been acquired from Dick Koenig of the Rocky Mountain 356 Club. Brown stated that the car had new floors, “longitudinals,” battery box, and rockers, but retained its original panels, doors, decklid, and lightweight GT interior, among other parts.

Long-time Ohio Valley Porsche Club of America member and veteran 356 owner Dick Weiss inspected the Speedster on behalf of John Hanning of West Chester, Ohio. Duly satisfied with Weiss’s assessment, a copy of which is on file, Mr. Hanning purchased the Speedster in 1995 and in April 1996 commissioned extensive transaxle work. Importantly, Weiss noted the GT equipment fitted to the car, including 60-millimeter ventilated front brakes, 15-inch alloy wheels with steel centers, rear wheel spacers, and an 80-liter GT fuel tank. Weiss further noted that a replacement transmission, number 23509, had been fitted, and that it was rebuilt to original specifications. Some time later, the numbers-matching gearbox, 15632, was located; the numbers-matching engine, 90858, was rebuilt; and the pair were reunited. Both are still present in the car today.

In 1998, the car passed from Hanning to John Dixon at the Taj Ma Garaj in Dayton, Ohio. Dixon commissioned marque specialists Die Werkstatt in Dayton, Ohio to carry out a full restoration that consumed three years, with the GT-specification engine enjoying the ministrations of the renowned Bill Doyle at Rennwagen in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. During his custodianship, Mr. Dixon acquired a removable rollbar and an extremely rare steel Speedster hardtop with a wraparound three-panel rear window.

This highly desirable Carrera Speedster presents today in wonderful concours condition. Since being acquired by the consignor in 2019, 83622 has been treated to a thorough mechanical freshening by Speed Sport Tuning of Danbury, Connecticut. The work, totaling almost $50,000, included a professional conversion of the engine to full-synthetic motor oil, as well as timing, carburetor, and brake adjustments. To ensure this Carrera Speedster is fully sorted for its next curator, additional fine tuning and improvements were made throughout, from the accelerator pedal depth to the steering box and gearbox. Invoices from Speed Sport Tuning detailing the full extent of the work are available for review.

Other rare items included in the sale consist of Avon tires fitted to correct “open” lightweight steel-and-alloy wheels date-coded “2-57,” as well as a period-correct Blaupunkt jack and tool roll, and rare “Touring” kit containing cables, bulbs, fuses, and gaskets. An uninstalled rollbar, “Atlantis” braided tow rope in a correct blue vinyl storage bag, period-correct driver’s manual with Carrera supplement, factory Kardex, and Porsche Certificate of Authenticity round out this well sorted, and documented, Carrera Speedster.

The serious Porsche collector seeking a perfect capstone to a stable of rare and exotic machinery could do no better than this numbers-matching Carrera GS/GT Speedster.