Arizona

18 January 2013

Lot 111

1955 Porsche 356 Speedster by Reutter Karosserie

To be auctioned on Friday, January 18, 2013

Sold for $170,500

  • Chassis no. 80745


55 hp, 1,488 cc air-cooled flat four-cylinder engine with twin Solex 32 PBI carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with parallel trailing-arms and laminated torsion bars, rear swing axles with transverse torsion bars, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 82.7 in.



• Impressive triple black color combination

• Correct engine compartment and fully detailed chassis

• Partial restoration, including a new top, side curtains, and carpet

• Desirable Speedster model



The 356 was designed by Ferry Porsche back in 1948, using the Volkswagen platform designed by his father. Lightweight and simple, it was instantly competitive, from hill climbs to long-distance rallying, and as a works car, it won the 1,100-cubic centimeter class at Le Mans in 1951. In so doing, it set a pattern that would continue for 60 years, producing some of the greatest race cars of the 20th century.



However, Americans have importer Max Hoffman to thank for the Porsche Speedster. The New York dealer brought 15 Special Roadsters to the U.S. in 1954. Seeking a competitive price point, he ordered them with bare-bones equipment. The gamble paid off, and the Speedster captured the public’s imagination—at an affordable base price of $2,995.



The Speedster was simple, and its light weight made it more fun to drive than the cabriolet. The windshield was cut down and the top curved, and an aluminum side spear made the car appear even lower. Tiny side screens replaced roll-up windows, and the top was minimal. The dashboard was made lighter with revised gauges, a padded lip, and no glove box. Seats were lower and non-reclining.



The Speedster literally took off in the U.S., with 4,144 finding enthusiastic buyers between 1954 and 1958. The venerable Speedster was a fixture at American tracks in the 1950s, driven by anybody who was anybody, from importer John Von Neumann, to future F1 world champion Dan Gurney and meteoric movie star James Dean. Skip Hudson was black flagged when lying 3rd at the 1955 Torrey Pines races and had to explain to the judges that he didn’t have to slow down for the corners because he could four-wheel drift around them.



In 1959, the Reutter-bodied Speedster was replaced on the street by the more sophisticated Convertible D. They boasted a taller windshield, windup windows, and a respectable top that fit better and didn’t give the impression of peering out of a mailbox. But, ultimately, it didn’t have the same magic.



The car offered today was one of 1,233 Speedsters sold in the U.S. from 1954–1955. While not numbers matching, it is described as fully sorted and a strong-running car. This Speedster is now handsomely finished in triple black and has a new top, side-curtains, and carpet. The engine compartment is affirmed to be an absolutely correct 1,488-cubic centimeter engine with twin Solex 32 PBI carburetors, an air tube, and an intake manifold. The chassis has been detailed, and a new battery box has been installed as well.



A lovingly restored and authentic 356 Speedster, this Porsche is well-suited for the true driving enthusiast and would make for an essential addition to any comprehensive sports car collection. A very rare car, it is a sheer pleasure to drive and will continue to remain highly collectable.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

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Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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+1 954 566 2209
Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

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+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more