As of March of 1957, Porsche offered two GS versions of the 356 Carrera, both with Ernst Fuhrmann’s ingenious and potent four-cam engines that brought over 1,000 victories in international competitions and in Gran Turismo championships throughout the U.S. and Europe. The GS/GT models were purpose-built competition cars offered in Coupe and Speedster bodies with an emphasis on light weight through stripping away any extraneous components which did not directly benefit the car’s performance. The body was devoid of any sound deadening or undercoating and featured “rolled edges”, simple door panels were fitted, the heater was omitted, lightened bumper brackets were fitted, a Nardi aluminum steering wheel with wood rim and lighter weight aluminum components took the place of steel components. An extended range 80-liter GT fuel tank was fitted at the front with a central filler cap, The front braking system from the mighty 550RS featured 60mm front brakes with 10mm thicker brake linings and ducts for cooling, and modified rear torsion bars to provide one degree of negative camber. In GT trim, the 547/1 four-cam engine offered 110bhp at 6,400 rpms- 10% more power than the GS De Luxe models and roughly 50% more power than its pushrod engine counterparts of the same displacement.
In late 1958, the T2 body was released and the GT models received improvements over the previous year’s model- aluminum doors, hood, and engine hood further reduced weight and five louvers in the engine hood to improve cooling. Aluminum was incorporated into the seat frames and trim, and two-piece wheels with an alloy insert specific to the GT models. Additionally, a larger ZF steering box, stronger front spindles, and an improved transmission rounded out the refinements over the previous year for the 1958 model year GTs. A total of just 151 Carrera Speedsters were produced from 1955 to 1959- of those Carrera GT Speedsters accounted for 30 in 1957, 27 in 1958, and 31 in 1959.
This 1958 Carrera GS/GT Speedster, Chassis 84711, was purchased directly from the Porsche race department by SCCA racer Chuck Rickert. Mr. Rickert wrote to Huschke von Hanstein on February 15th, 1957 expressing his interest in purchasing a Carrera Speedster directly from the factory for SCCA competition, circumventing Max Hoffman’s dealership in New York City. His request was promptly denied in a response letter ten days later, but Porsche included a “Vacation Delivery” price list and an insistence that compliance with the contractual guidelines could achieve the same result. A series of letters between the factory and Mr. Rickert expressed the concern of production numbers of the GTs, and if there would be enough to qualify for SCCA production class competition. By December of 1957, Rickert had placed a down payment of $500 each for two GT Speedsters- one for him and one for Dean Causey, also of Indianapolis, identical in specifications aside from color and wheel choice. The original order requested four chromed wheels, deletion of the U.S. equipment front and rear bumpers, a spare wheel painted Ivory with a Dunlop racing tire mounted, coupe-style fresh air vents, and a removable heater system. He was denied the fresh air vents and heater system, as was his request for the chromed wheels, as they would not fit over the larger Spyder brakes. A letter dated January 7th, 1958 from Porsche stated that they had indeed certified compliance with SCCA requirements, and another three days later to Mr. Rickert acknowledged his purchase of chassis 84711. Reuter Karroserie painted the bodies in color groups, so despite being ordered at the same time, Mr. Rickert’s Ivory GT Speedster was delivered on May 18, 1958- over a month after Mr. Causey’s Silver-grey GT Speedster. Mr. Rickert traveled to the port in New York City to collect the GT Speedster less than 48 hours before his initial outing in 84711, sporting the race number 0 at the Bridgehampton National, where he finished 3rd in class. 84711 was nicknamed “Little Miss Zero” and together, Mr. Rickert and chassis 84711 dominated the SCCA championship between 1958 and June 1961, winning a total of eighteen of twenty-two races.
Chassis 84711 SCCA Championship race history:
• May, Bridgehampton National, 3rd in class
• June, Elkhart Lake National, 1st overall
• July, Mossport Hillclimb, 1st overall
• August, Milwaukee National, 1st overall (2 races)
• September, Elkhart Lake National, 1st overall
• September, Meadowdale National, 1st overall (2 races)
• April, Pensacola national, 1st overall
• May, Lawrenceville Regional, 1st overall (2 races)
• May, Louisville Regional, 1st overall (2 races)
• June, Elkhart Lake National, 2nd overall
• July, Indianapolis Regional, 1st overall (2 races)
• August, Milwaukee National, 1st overall (2 races
• August, Elkhart Lake National, 1st overall
• April, Pensacola National, 1st overall
• August, Louisville National, DNF
June, Elkhart Lake National, DNF due to broken crank
Chassis 84711 was purchased by its fourth owner, Mitchell Leland, in 1978 in non-running condition with the intention to restore it himself. Shortly after he purchased the Speedster, he began tracing its history and its previous owners. He received a letter from the archivist at the SCCA, who in turn provided Mr. Rickert’s address and phone number. The two exchanged letters on a number of occasions, and in one such letter Mr. Rickert provided race results and period photos of “Little Miss Zero” in action. He lost interest in the final stages of the restoration but offered Mr. Rickert the opportunity to purchase the Speedster and have it return to its original owner. It was later restored to a high standard by its previous owner’s private mechanics, many of whom were former Vasek Polak employees.
An incredible cache of documentation is accompanied with chassis 84711, including the original order by Chuck Rickert, handwritten and typed correspondence between owners and the SCCA, as well as the Porsche factory. Also included are the FIA HTP documents which make the chassis 84711 eligible for historic racing events such as the Le Mans Classic, and a Reuter Karroserie book with the car’s original color and interior configuration.
Please note that Chassis #84711 was originally delivered with engine #90959 and now has engine #90943. A correct type 547/1 type four-cam engine.
Purchased new directly from Porsche Werks by Chuck Rickert
One of 27 Carrera GT Speedsters produced for 1958
Exceptional early SCCA race history, with 18 wins of 22 races entered between 1958 and June 1961
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