1956 Porsche 356 A 1600 Speedster by Reutter
Sold For $330,000Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
RM | Sotheby's - MONTEREY 13 - 15 AUGUST 2015 - The Pinnacle Portfolio: A Rare Collective of Automotive Distinction
- Outfitted with optional coupe seats
- Presented in original colors and retains its original engine
- A true pop culture and design icon, paired with drivability and practicality
- Complete with a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity
60 hp, 1,582 cc OHV air-cooled horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with dual Solex carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with laminated torsion bars, parallel trailing arms, and tubular shock absorbers, independent rear swing axles with torsion bars and tubular shock absorbers, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 82.7 in.
Porsche has the Speedster to thank for their success in the United States.
Without this little roadster, it could be argued that Porsche sales might not have ever taken off in the fiercely competitive U.S. market. The car’s low-slung and focused looks appealed to sports car enthusiasts, and its price of just under $3,000 definitely helped to get Speedsters off the showroom floors and out onto the open road. Boasting few creature comforts but excellent driving characteristics, it helped cement Porsche’s reputation in the United States and earned it a hugely desirable portion of the sports car market at a time when the motto of most British marques was “export or die.”
Steve McQueen even had a Speedster of his own, which he adored and which became one of the cars most closely associated with “The King of Cool.”
This T-1 356 A Speedster, delivered new to its first American owner on May 24, 1956, was built as you see it today: finished in white with a red leather interior and equipped with U.S. instrumentation and sealed-beam headlamps for its importation to the U.S. Interestingly, this car was fitted with the more luxurious coupe seats instead of the standard bucket seats that the majority of Speedsters had as standard equipment.
As of the early 1990s, the car was owned by Ron Surowick, of Bowmansville, New York. Ten years ago, this Speedster was restored to its original specifications, and upon completion, it is said that Surowick drove the car from Ohio to his home in Bowmansville, just outside of Buffalo, New York. Surowick kept the car for a few more years, and it eventually passed to Dr. Steve Larsen, of Milltown, New Jersey. Larsen entrusted Paterek Brothers Inc., Porsche specialists in Chatham, New Jersey, with completing a service and detailing in April 2010. The car has been with its current owner for the past four years and has been well preserved in its as-restored condition, complete with side curtains, a tool roll, and a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity.
The Speedster holds a special place in Porsche history, not only as a sales success but also as an icon of minimalist automotive design. It remains a beloved vehicle today, and a well-restored and properly maintained Speedster, such as this example, is on the wish list of nearly every car enthusiast the world over. This status has also contributed to a meteoric rise in desirability for these cars, as they lead the charge for all 356s and 911s that are gaining momentum in the market place. Simply put, no important collection would be complete without a proper Speedster, as it is an equal in automotive design and history as the California Spider and 300 SL, but it further benefits from practicality and ease of use, which make it as perfect for running errands as handling twisty mountain roads. Motoring enthusiasts new to the classic car world are well served to acquire a “blue chip” car such as this.