1958 Porsche 356A SpeedsterSOLD
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Engine Type: 1600 cc Flat-4
Engine Number:P*820949*
Color:Ivory / Tan Leather

Reference Number 119794

as of 2/13/2013

Overview
Car 1958 Porsche 356A Speedster
VIN 83956 
Mileage 55,653 miles 
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Known History

 

1958 Porsche 356A Speedster

s/n 83956, Engine no. 820949

Ivory with Tan Leather Interior

 

The Porsche Speedster is a true legend among automobiles. Built with the less is more mentality, it was actually a case of removing equipment to reduce the cost of the car and compete with less expensive cars. Ironically, the cars are more collectible now and worth considerably more than their plusher counterparts. The car was built in direct response to requests for American Porsche distributor Max Hoffman for a car that would sell better in the United States and would be inexpensive enough to compete with Triumphs and MG's. The resulting car had only what was necessary: side curtains, a cut down windscreen, bucket seats, and a rudimentary top. The cars sold well, especially in the United States, and were popular among racers and enthusiasts. Certainly they occupy a unique place among American sports car culture.

 

Later examples, such as this one, were fitted with the enlarged 1600cc engine, in addition to a number of detail updates. This particular car is a black plate California car, and is likely to have been in California from new as its owner’s manual is stamped with “Jack McAfee Motors” in Sherman Oaks, California, and the previous California title notes this 1958 year model Speedster as having been first registered in 1957. In the early 1960s the car belonged to one of the owners of Martin Johnson Porsche/Audi, the dealer that was located in Oakland, California. The car sat in disuse for approximately 15-18 years before being acquired in about 1980 by a mechanic who owns a Porsche repair shop in Sunnyvale, California. He recommissioned the car and drove it regularly for many years before performing a comprehensive restoration, which was completed in about 2003. During the restoration, he fitted a 356 SC motor and gearbox, with a Speedster transaxle nose section such that the standard shifter could still be used. He also converted the car to a 12 volt electrical system and fitted wider but stock appearing (likely Mangles items) wheels with Michelin XWX tires. The car also has comfort seats (which were already in place when he acquired the car and reportedly came in this car, an unusual but correct option) and Convertible D style door panels with pockets. The bumpers are also chromed (originally an option on the Speedster) and the car also has Bilstein shock absorbers.

 

He sold the car on to a collector in Pebble Beach in approximately 2006, and the car saw minimal use under this custodianship. Fantasy Junction had the opportunity to transact this example to its current owner in April of 2011, who is a performance-minded driving enthusiast with an extensive background in professional motor sports.

 

Today, the car is in excellent condition. The car was restored in a color very close to its original color of ivory (5704) and the body is exceptionally nice, with excellent gaps and fit. The doors shut superbly and the paintwork is first rate. There are no significant paint blemishes and the lights and glass are excellent overall. The car has European rear lenses, and Hella H4 headlamps, and there is one small chip in the windscreen. The chrome and trim are excellent, save for a bit of pitting on the door buttons and some wear to the finish on the license plate lamp. The wheels and tires are excellent. A new top and top boot have just been fitted, both employing the correct tan canvas material.

 

The interior is extremely nicely done with tan leather and correct square weave carpets. Three-point inertia reel seat belts from a 1990’s Porsche were neatly fitted, which shows the level of attention that went into completing this car. The dashboard is excellent, and the instruments are in very good condition. The leather and carpets are in excellent condition, and the car has the correct rubber floor mats, which are excellent. The steering wheel rim is leather covered and there are some cracks in the horn button. The knobs are original and correct, but are showing their age.

 

The engine compartment and trunk are both very nice. The engine has Dell’orto carburetors with K&N filters, electronic ignition, and the correct decals on the oil filter and fan housings have been reproduced. The engine is nicely detailed and quite clean, and the trunk is solid throughout. Thanks to the 12 volt conversion, the car can be run with a modern battery, which is an Optima in this case. The undercarriage is solid and shows signs of much recent maintenance including spotless oil return tubes, new soft brake lines, and Bilsteins with minimal mileage on them. The floors are free of corrosion at this time, though certain areas such as the battery box appear to have been replaced in the past.

 

The car runs and drives superbly, and would be ideal for the Speedster buyer who is looking for increased performance with an original presentation. The gearbox is excellent, and the engine is very strong, making noticeably more power than an ordinary Speedster thanks to the SC motor. The chassis feels solid and reassuring, while the wider wheels and tires coupled with the Bilstein shock absorbers raises the cornering limits of the car compared to a standard example.

 

This is an outstanding opportunity to acquire a wonderful driving and looking example of the legendary Speedster. Unusually equipped with a host of thoughtful upgrades, this car is a very enjoyable to drive and displays excellent workmanship throughout. Additionally, the car has long time California history, and is finished in a lovely and unusual color combination.