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1957 Porsche 356A Speedster

Posted by WindingRoad about 2 months, 2 weeks ago
$750,000.00

1957 Porsche 356 A Speedster Carrera Spec Outlaw

s/n 82865

Engine Type 547/5 (installed)

Engine no. P*748009 (included) 

Silver with Black Leather and Tan Corduroy seat inserts

For more than seven decades, Porsche design and performance excellence has earned legions of dedicated enthusiasts throughout the world. Their humble and cost conscious beginnings were instrumental in building their brand into an uncompromised motorsports and production car leader. Built to race and raced to win, by the early 1950s Porsche cars were making their mark in America when distributor Max Hoffman asked Porsche to develop a sports car that could compete against lower priced Triumphs and MGs. Porsche set out to build a car with essential performance traits, sparse features, and unheard of reliability. The emergent Speedster delivered all this and more, establishing an iconic car that endures today. The lowered windscreen, minimal trim, and performance capability all culminated in surprisingly strong sales, particularly in the United States, where year after year, Speedster performance and simplicity won the hearts of racers and enthusiasts. Today the remarkable 356 Speedster still holds a leading position as a premiere vintage Porsche, not only amongst enthusiasts but frequently cited by historians, designers, and motorsports journalists as one of the most influential sports cars of twentieth century. 

This Porsche 356 embodies all the attributes of the iconic Speedster with an astonishing and brilliantly executed surprise, cleverly lurking underneath the competition inspired steel and aluminum body. The current owner, award-winning designer, author, and inventor Peter Jon Pearce, purchased the car in 1985 from George Wilkie. At that time, the Speedster had already benefitted from the installation of the powerful and legendary 4 cam RS60/61 motor, which still resides in the car today. These highly specialized competition engines had typically been reserved for Porsche racecars throughout the 1950s, with the 1750cc dry sump 547/5 motor being the last of the Furhmann roller crank engines built. According to Porsche experts, the engine installed in this car was listed as a spare, having never been assigned to a specific racecar. At some point in the mid 50s, the car was upgraded to Carrera specifications for use in SCCA production car racing. After Pearce’s purchase, this uniquely built Speedster was further updated with RSK brakes with dual leading shoes, and the 541 gearbox was set up with short gears, mated to an authentic ZF limited slip differential. The suspension was fully dialed in with Koni shocks, and oversize front anti-sway bar, with optimized camber and caster geometries. For racing duties, Pearce, an authority on three dimensional space truss engineering, designed and implemented a uniquely triangulated 41xx chrome-moly steel roll cage and exquisite full aluminum tonneau cover sporting an integrated curve windscreen and tapered head fairing. During the 1990 engine rebuild, legendary 4-cam specialist Al Cadrobbi was enlisted to perform the work to the highest standards, which resulted in a 175hp dyno-tested rating at 7,500 rpm. Among the many performance features, two external oil coolers were mounted inside the front fenders, thermostatically controlled by a factory 904 unit. 

Between 1988 and 1994, Pearce raced the car in approximately 5 races per year, almost exclusively with HMSA. Among the many wins achieved with the car, 1990 Overall Winner Monterey Historics Group 3B (1955/62 GT cars under 2000cc), two First Place finishes at the 1990 Monterey Pre-Historics, and in 1992 Pearce received The Chopard Award for Outstanding Presentation and Performance. Races at famed Laguna Seca throughout the early 1990s included multiple first place wins with repeat “Fastest Lap” times including an August 17, 1990 lap time of 1:56.20, a full 8 seconds ahead of the 2nd place car. Most recently, the car has been treated to a comprehensive engine rebuild which included a newly manufactured roller crankshaft from Karl Hloch in Germany, verified by Adrian Gang at Edelweiss Porschaus, new pistons and cylinders, new valves, and a refreshed crankcase with machining and line boring performed by Ross Cummings at Phil Riley & Co. Further mechanical work and cosmetic freshening resulted in a First Place win at the August 2018 Porsche Club of America Concours Werks Reunion in Monterey, CA, Outlaw Class.

Today, this Speedster presents as a truly outstanding sports car of iconic design and professional performance engineering, with remarkably authentic components backed by unprecedented competition engine. Painted in a beautiful shade of silver with just the right amount of metallic carefully laid over tastefully crafted bodywork, the car reflects a refinement and excellence that reflects its decades of singular dedicated ownership. The panel gaps and fit are excellent in all areas, with features that open and close smoothly, particularly the doors, which shut with the distinct and satisfying sound of Porsche precision. The exterior has been tastefully refined, spared from any unnecessary chrome or trim, save for the single engine grille and front intakes. The end result is a stunningly pure expression of performance and beauty cleanly punctuated by gleaming chrome plated wheels, which look equally at home finished with chrome plated hubcaps or displaying the intricately detailed RSK brake castings mounted to the stamped wheel centers. The car is currently outfitted with a set of 175mm DOT approved Avon tires which contribute perfectly to the performance profile and stance of this remarkable Speedster, yet remain both street-legal and very sticky.

A cleanly fitted tan canvas tonneau can be unzipped at the center, stowed in back, and the beautifully fitted tan canvas top and side curtains erected to complete the celebrated hunkered down Speedster look. Condition of the top, curtains, and tonneau is excellent. In this configuration, the Speedster has a slightly modified street appearance, still hiding the powerful 4-cam engine. For a more competition-inspired look, the soft-top and windscreen can be removed and the specially designed aluminum hard shell tonneau with wrap around windscreen can be installed. 

The interior is beautifully finished with correct materials reflective of the spirit of the original Speedster. The body colored dashboard features gorgeous gauges with bright color and clean finishes, having been faithfully restored with correct green graphics, and proper needles. Virtually all trim and garnishes have been removed for a competition aesthetic reminiscent of an RSK. A wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel, fluted rubber floor mat, and delicate chrome features further add to the satisfying competition feel of the car. A delightful touch is the tan corduroy seat inserts, which create an elegant feel while offering added grip when driving in a spirited manner. Throughout the interior, all materials offer a unified appearance, comfortable fit and finish, resulting in a wonderfully harmonized composition.

Under the hood lurks the truly astonishing feature of this beautifully executed car: the 4-cam Carrera engine. Lifting the engine cover to display one of the most important performance engines in the history of racing, even hardened Porsche enthusiasts shake their heads in respect for this absolute firecracker of a motor, which was capable of 100hp per liter with carburetors and points. Faithfully restored using correct factory finishes, proper hardware and fittings, factory hoses, wiring, and linkages, the engine also allows for some contemporary upgrades to further improve reliability and durability for street and competition use. Attention to detail extends to even the most basic mechanical components, raw engine castings, and various lines, all of which are properly mounted and correctly finished. Under the front storage compartment, the original serial number, 82865, is stamped in the structural support apron per factory designation assigned 60 years ago. Finishes here as well are factory correct and properly done including a correctly matching fluted rubber mat and a modern protective battery case to prevent acid damage to the floor. The underside of the car shows no evidence of structural compromise, boasting years of preservation and care combined with correct restoration, excellent detailing, and properly updated finishes that show minimal miles accumulated since the engine was rebuilt. 

The car starts reliably and easily, settling into a wonderful nearly explosive idle through the pea-shooter style center exhaust. Merely starting the car comes with a sense of theater, with the race car style ability to crank the engine without ignition in order to build oil pressure before actuating the twin magneto switches for the twin plug ignition system to fire the motor. In spite of being a 100hp per liter engine, it is remarkably tractable and easy to use. The throttle response is absolute magic, and the engine pulls easily at all revs, with a pleasant streetable character in the lower rev range, and an explosive racy nature as the revs climb. Carburetion is linear, while the close ratio gearbox (and having nearly triple the power of an original Speedster) provides thrilling acceleration. Yet the power does not overwhelm the rest of the car. The clutch has a slightly aggressive character but remains streetable, and the gearbox has excellent synchromesh and good linkage, making it a pleasure to work the engine and gearbox in harmony. Brakes have good firm feel and linear operation, and the chassis has a wonderful snubbed down feeling that is artfully coupled with surprising compliance. The chassis feels extremely solid and rigid, even without the chassis brace and roll bar installed. In short, the car is magic to drive. Every aspect operates harmoniously and the collective result achieves that exceptional, well-resolved feel of a car that has been owned and honed by a keeper who seems to be one part artist and one part engineer.

The car comes with the hand made aluminum hard shell tonneau cover with clear plastic windscreen, a new Plexiglas spare windscreen, two sets of replica Speedster seats (one set upholstered in corduroy, the other in black leather), a set of side curtains, car cover and storage bag, the uniquely designed roll cage, a hot rodded spare pushrod engine from a 912 (*748009*), assorted spare parts including a competition exhaust, chrome plated hubcaps, parts books, and a Carrera shop manual. California registered personalized blue and gold license plate 356 GSGT also comes with the car.

Historically remarkable and reflective of the finest performance components offered on any 356 Porsche, it is nearly impossible for even the most talented artisans to create such a well-resolved and remarkable car today. This iconic Porsche 356 Speedster perfectly captures both the conceptual clarity and unrelenting performance embodied in the original Porsche concept and the competition objectives set by the long-term owner. Clothed in a stunning design, outfitted with legendary engineering, and reflective of the highest performance standards, this Speedster is ready for enjoyable events, historic racing, touring, or proudly participating in top level Concours throughout the world.

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