Written & Photographed by Brian Rozar
The 1950’s, a decade of prosperity, colored television, the beginning of rock-n-roll and an overall upbeat and exciting America. As for Porsche, it was the commencement of a legacy with the introduction of the 356. In 1954, Porsche took the 356 a step further and established Porsche’s racing heritage with the 356 Speedster. At that same time, Max Hoffman, the original Porsche importer in the US, helped introduce the 356 Speedster to the US market. Hoffman believed that Americans were in need of a nimble roadster that satisfied their need for speed, as well as separating themselves from the big American V8 packs. The Speedster was just it; affordably priced at $2,995 (roughly $28,000 today) – which was cheaper than the 356 coupe and cabriolet. When the Speedster came to market in the US it was an instant hit, particularly in Southern California, which was the racers hub of America at that time. In 1955, Porsche built approximately 1,234 speedsters, thus making the Pre-A Speedster a significant model to consider for any serious collector.
For more information on Max Hoffman and the becomings of the Porsche Speedster, look for “Weapon of War” by Randy Leffingwell in this month’s issue of our RS| Magazine.
Fast forward 35 years later to the year 1989, when the 911 Speedster was introduced to the US market. This remarkable 911 design celebrated the legendary 356 Speedster – in both, name and looks. At the time, Porsche realized the collector market was hitting new heights and saw an opportunity to capitalize on it. Like the original 356 Speedster, the 911 version was intended to be a stripped down, cheaper car for the American market. Although the speedster ended up costing approximately $6,000 more than the Carrera Cabriolet, this didn’t sway American buyers, who lined up to purchase one knowing that only 2,065 were produced. As with everything “Porsche”, the lower the production number – the more of an instant classic it will become.