1955 Porsche 356 Speedster by Reutter
$225,000 - $275,000
RM | Sotheby's - AMELIA ISLAND 8 - 9 MARCH 2019 - Offered on Friday
- In current ownership since 1975
- All-original body panels; 61,744 original miles
- Comprehensive rotisserie restoration
- Includes copy of factory Kardex
- Porsche Production Specifications certificate
Porsche’s 356 Speedster has become an icon, and the number of undiscovered examples of these little jewels shrinks year by year.
Porsche Speedsters were introduced in 1954 to fill U.S. distributor Max Hoffman’s demand for a less expensive model to compete with the popular British and Italian imports then dominating the growing American market. Porsche responded with a stripped two-seater with a base price of just under $3,000. The 356 Speedster was an immediate hit with American enthusiasts.
This beautifully restored Speedster had belonged to a Chicago-area foreign car dealer who had disassembled the car for restoration, but by mid-1975 realized that he was never going to complete the project. Unfortunately, he had lost track of the original 1500 S 70-hp engine. The car then passed into the hands of the current owner in Alabama. A 1958 Normal engine was located and rebuilt by a local German air-cooled specialist, and uprated with a “big bore” kit, hotter cam, and other modifications. The new owner had given the car a “quickie” paint job to suffice until he could get to a proper restoration. That’s where things stood for another 40 years. In 2004, the owner began five years of researching every detail of what would be required to begin a top-level reconstruction. Thereafter, an additional five years was spent on a complete, rotisserie, bare-metal restoration.
“The paint is the original Speedster White and it took me almost a year to get the actual Glasurit paint code, which the car has,” says the consignor. More than 450 hours were spent on preparation, painting, reassembly, and the panel gaps are perfect in all respects. Although this Speedster is believed to have spent its early years in Illinois, it showed minimal corrosion in the usual suspect areas. The floor panels and battery box were intact but not perfect, so they were replaced. The doors and both lids were found to be numbers-matching and undamaged, and the nose and tail clip seams appear untouched.
The seats and interior were correctly reupholstered in red leatherette. There is a new fabric top with new side curtains, fresh 1955-specific rubber front floor mats and other rubber items. All the instruments were rebuilt, and all the original exterior trim pieces and badges were re-plated. The interior knobs and switches are refurbished originals. Porsche supplied both a new Sigla windshield and the owner also acquired NOS heater canisters. The original four-speed gearbox was overhauled by the well-respected Mike Robbins. The wheels are the correct 16-in. diameter examples, fitted with Michelin radials for better handling, but a set of period-correct Dunlop bias-ply tires is included. Since the restoration was completed in 2014, the owner has driven this Speedster less than 1,500 miles and only in dry weather.
Certainly among the finest Speedsters anywhere, this low-mileage example is supplied with a partial tool roll, correct jack, spare, restoration invoices, and books. This Speedster can be immediately enjoyed by its next fortunate owner and needs nothing more to be concours ready than to drive it on the show field.