Speedster: (spEd!stur) n. 1. One who drives very fast. 2. A fast car. 3. An open, two-seat model Porsche enthusiasts love.
Okay, okay. No dictionary lists that third definition.
But…I think we all can agree as Porsche fanatics that the Typ 356 Speedster popularized Porsche, especially here in the U.S., the market for which it was intended, starting in the mid 50s. Winning races with pre-A coupes and cabriolets equated to great advertisement that led to a more conventional dual-purpose open sports car for the privateer market. Being able to manufacture and deliver this affordable Speedster (approximately $3,000) to the US was the root cause of what we all enjoy today within the Porsche brand. This was an era of when cars were fun and with your sports car came a lifestyle. Johnny von Neumann Maxie Hoffman understood this and pressed the factory to design it, assemble it, and ship it to the U.S. We can all thank the Speedster when we’re out on our weekend drive, or at a PCNA event, or pulling into a cars and coffee, or showing at the Concours, or sharing our hobby with our families. The Speedster represents one of the most important sports cars in the history of the automobile. At the hands of Paul Newman and Steve McQueen and James Dean, racing them and using them in their films, the car became a legend. And there’s no doubt it will remain a favorite and cornerstone in Porsche collections for many years to come.
Chassis 84893 is a wonderful concours-restored example from the last year of the pushrod Speedsters. A collector out of Chicago commissioned its restoration—in black—10 years ago. Five years later our client acquired chassis 84893 and essentially had it re-restored and returned to its most popular factory color combination of Meissen Blue over Red. At this time, he chose to take advantage of the opportunity to dot every “i” and cross every “t”, and they did just that. They attended to the details that many restorers and owners overlook such as correct VDO gauges, VDO fuel sending unit, authentic light lenses all around, correct bezels, and even going so far as to find and install the acorn nuts used on the over-riders.
We’ve certainly had some stunning 356 Speedsters over the years—some of the best in the country, if we may say it—and chassis 84893 ranks right up there. It is fully up to our standards, and from our experience looking at and driving chassis 84893, they had to have started with a good car when it underwent restoration.
There are nice consistent gaps, the car retains its original front and rear deck lids and door panels, and overall, it just presents beautifully. The paint is in excellent condition and the interior is barely worn in with authentic carpet and correct red leather. Since its refreshening, chassis 84893 hasn’t been driven much and it is everything you would want in this iconic Porsche.
As someone recently told me, “If you can’t be happy with a Meissen / Red 356 Speedster, then you can’t be happy”.
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