1955 Porsche 356 1600 Speedster by Reutter
$475,000 USD | Asking
| United States
- A highly desirable late-production pre-A Speedster
- Fitted from new with the larger 1600 engine
- Previously restored by renowned 356 specialist John Willhoit
- Retains matching-numbers engine per accompany Porsche CoA
- Finished in classic color combination of red over black
Porsche’s iconic 356 Speedster first appeared in 1954 after United States distributor Max Hoffman convinced the factory that it needed a product with which to compete with lower-cost British imports. What Porsche delivered was a bare-bones roadster with a base price of just under $3,000, which was exactly what Hoffman needed to get customers in the door. Unlike the luxurious 356 Cabriolet, with its fixed windshield and numerous comfort features, the Speedster was minimal in design, with side curtains instead of roll-up door glass, a removable windshield, ventilated thin-shell non-reclining bucket seats, and little else—though a lot of fun.
It was a true dual-purpose sports car. Owners could readily use their Speedsters for everyday driving and then take it to the track on weekends, remove the bumpers, top, windshield, floor mats, and other trim, tape on some numbers, and go racing. Speedsters offered excellent performance due to their light weight, and they soon established themselves as the cars to beat. Speedsters remained competitive well into the 1970s and 1980s, winning many national championships throughout the United States and Europe. Speedster production wound down in 1958, and these focused sports cars remain highly desirable today.
Delivered new in White over Red leatherette, this late-production pre-A Speedster now wears a lovely shade of red over a black and tan interior. Notably, it benefits from the factory fitment of the larger 1600 engine (as found in the 356 A), an enhancement over the 1.5-liter engines found in earlier Speedsters.
While its early history is unknown, the car underwent a full restoration in the mid-1990s by world-renowned Porsche 356 expert John Willhoit of Willhoit Auto Restoration in Long Beach, California. Upon its completion in January 1995, the proud owner would go on to showcase the car at various events, winning multiple class podium awards at the Dana Point, Palos Verdes, ATSC Newport Beach, and Southern California Concours d’Elegance events. In 1996, the car won Best of Show at the Palm Springs Concours d’Elegance.
In 1998, the car exchanged hands where it was enjoyed by a collector in Illinois. It was only then in 2014 the car would appear once more, only this time to enter the custodianship of its current owner. It was noted during the sale of the car that the odometer showed just 1,644 miles since its restoration.
Today the car presents extremely well, showing just under 2,600 miles since its restoration was completed at time of cataloguing. Retaining its matching-numbers engine per the accompanying Porsche Certificate of Authenticity on file, this Speedster sports a set of correct and date-matching 16-inch wheels as well as stone guard protecting headlamps. Further, the car is accompanied by a set of tools and side curtains.
A true delight to drive, this appealing 356 1600 Speedster is a must-have for any Porsche aficionado!