“On the afternoon of Thursday, September 2, 1954, Ferry Porsche met with his chief engineer, Karl Rabe. There was a long list of pending projects and important developments that needed their attention. Ferry had a great talent for envisioning the kinds of cars that people would buy. For the first time, he discussed with Karl Rabe the possibility of installing the Typ 547 four-cam engine in the new 540 Speedster.
Only 10 days before, two 547 engines had proved to be reliable in the longest and hardest European rally, the Liege-Rome-Liege. This 1488cc four-cam engine beat 113 strong competitors, including 3000cc Ferraris, 3500cc Jaguars, 2500cc Lancias, and other fast and big-engined sport cars.”
– Porsche Speedster Typ 540 Quintessential Sports Car
Remarkably, Porsche would only produce a total of 151 Carrera Speedsters from 1955 until 1959. The four-cam engine was an expensive option and the Carrera badge represented proven race car technology in a compelling package. Customers raced their Carrera Speedsters in events all over the world to a great degree of success and the model has secured a special place in the Pantheon of significant Porsche models.
The first series production 356 Carrera Speedster was built in July 1955, with chassis 80665. Only 15 Pre-A Carrera Speedsters were produced in 1955. This car, chassis 81086 was the eleventh Carrera Speedster ever produced.
Chassis 81086 was originally delivered to Max Hoffman’s famous showroom in New York City. It was ordered from the factory painted white with a red leatherette interior. The only recorded options were sealed beam headlights with the speedometer in miles.
This early Pre-A Speedster would eventually find its way to Jim Rinker’s well-known Porsche 356 restoration shop in Southern California in the 1980’s. Chassis 81086 was restored there and still remains in impeccable condition to this day. The paint work has held up in a remarkable way, and the car still presents as a very high-level driver with some appealing worn patina in the interior. The seats are made from the original type leatherette and could quite possibly be original. They are also stuffed with the correct coconut fibers and original materials from the factory.
Chassis 81086 has a correct original type four-cam engine (547/1) numbered P90604 that originally came from 1956 Carrera GS Coupe, chassis 56046. The original engine for this Carrera Speedster was P90536. The engine numbers are close in sequence and it’s not unusual for early Carreras to not have their original engines. It was very common to stick in a different four-cam engine for any number of reasons during repair work in those early days at dealerships across the globe.
Eventually, chassis 81086 would make its way overseas in the mid-1980’s to Japan when the collector car market was very strong there. It was featured in a Japanese magazine article from February 1986 and also received its valuable FIVA Passport in 2009 while still in Japan.
81086 made its return voyage back to the United States two years ago to a focused collection in Florida. It has been recently fully serviced. It’s currently fitted with 15” Willhoit alloy wheels. The original date-stamped 16” wheels are included.
It ran the 2019 California Mille without any issues and was one of the faster Speedsters during the Rally. 81086 is a rare opportunity to acquire one of the most iconic models ever produced in Stuttgart. It also represents a ticket into any vintage events around the world and would be eligible for the prestigious Mille Miglia in Italy.
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