Porsche’s iconic 356 Speedster has long been one of my favorite cars – partially due to the styling (I love a ragtop) and partially due to its democratic price point. The model first appeared in 1954 after U.S. distributor Max Hoffman convinced the factory that it needed a product with which to compete with lower-cost British imports. What Porsche delivered was a bare-bones roadster with a base price of just under $3,000, which was exactly what Hoffman needed to get customers in the door. Unlike the luxurious 356 Cabriolet, with its fixed windshield and numerous comfort features, the Speedster was very basic, with side curtains instead of roll-up door glass, a removable windshield, ventilated thin-shell non-reclining bucket seats, and little else—though a lot of fun. The exterior of this example is finished in Meisen Blue with a Navy top, while the interior has a matching Meisen Blue dash with correct gauges, a restored Nardi wooden steering wheel, and tan square-weave carpeting.
The 356 Speedster was a true dual- purpose sports car. Owners could readily use their Speedsters for everyday transportation and then drive to the track on weekends, remove the bumpers, top, windshield, floor mats, and other trim, tape on some numbers, and go racing. Speedsters offered excellent performance due to their light weight, and they soon established themselves as the cars to beat. Speedsters remained competitive well into the 1970s and 1980s, winning many national championships in the U.S. and Europe.