Porsche With Provenance: 1958 356A Speedster

Braggadocio finds its way into every aspect of life but is most notable in the car peddling biz and this 1958 Porsche 356 is no exception as the seller states, “THE Most Famous Speedster in the Country and in Porsche Club of America“. True? Maybe, let’s investigate. This Porsche Speedster is located in Garland, Texas and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $205,800 (yikes!), reserve not yet met.

Full disclosure, this Porsche 356 is listed for sale here on the Porsche Club of America Mart for $3,560,000. I guess if you’re going to be the most famous, you should have the most famous price, right? Why so famous? It belonged to Mike Robbins who was the Central Indiana Region’s Porsche Club of America (PCA) founder and the 1961 First President as well as the original owner of this 356. Here’s an interview with Mr. Robbins that was recorded in 2010 where he explains that he has driven this car in 47 annual PCA parades.  What makes this Porsche so unique, besides the owner’s story? For starters, it has 524K miles on its odometer. Beyond that, the listing states, “Maybe the only 1958 Speedster build with these options from the factory:

  •  Delete hood handle
  •  Delete Speedster scripts on the fenders
  •  Delete body side molding trim
  •  Rudge wheels
  •  Coupe seats

Well, it’s certainly a sharp-looking car, for its price it should be and it has undergone a complete restoration. The finish is flaw-free as is the entire body for that matter. The body panels are claimed to be all original and the seller adds, “After full rust removal restoration, she is dry as a bone and rock-solid“. There are no images of the folding top but the listing references a new German variety that is in place.

The interior is in likewise, magnificent condition. The red leather upholstery, door cards, and dash covering are the perfect contrast for the deep black exterior and dashboard hue. If anything, I’d be inclined to suggest that German sports cars one-up the British on instrument panel layout and gauge legibility – and I’m quite fond of the British approach. To add a little racing style to this Porsche, there are safety harnesses in place.

Unfortunately, originality is lost under the bonnet as this 356 is sporting a replacement engine. The original motor would have most commonly been a 59 HP, 1.6-liter boxer-style four-cylinder unit though there were horsepower differences based country of planned destination. There is no information regarding possible modifications that may have been applied to what sounds like a date-correct replacement powerplant. A four-speed transaxle puts the power to the rear wheels, while four-wheel disc brakes return this Porsche to a stationary position. This video will illustrate this 356  Speedster in operating mode though it’s not terribly revealing.

So, the most famous Speedster in the country? I’d say that’s debatable but yes, this car has significant provenance. One thing that doesn’t seem debatable is the price, it’s out there. So what do you think, is it worth paying for this car’s association or would it be better to pursue a more anonymous example?

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    While I’m no expert on early Porsche I would think not having the original mill and 4-wheel disc brakes would hurt its resale. I bet the original engine case was worn out from all the miles and several overhauls. When I was the SM at the Porsche dealer the owner had his Porsche Speedster restored. I remember driving in that car. Truly impressed with the driving experience and back in the early 2000’s they were selling in the Million range.

    Like 7
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Changing out engines in these cars was pretty common. It wasn’t expensive and an easy way to replace a worn out or damaged engine. While in Europe in the ’70s with our ’64 C coupe the factory put out a bulletin advertising having one 912 engine left in their inventory. Our car had 70K on it and ran well but the idea of the factory installing the newer, faster engine was too much to pass up. Got to the factory before anyone else and scheduled the transplant. Trip from Oslo was great fun, and the two day stay in Stuttgart netted a new engine and a private tour of the Porsche Museum all for $1,850. If the original Rudge wheels come with the car you can make adapters to bolt them on the later disc brake hubs. This car needs them as the disc brake wheels just don’t look right to me. Beautiful car.

    Like 11
  3. Chas H

    No mention of the Rudge wheels as being included, so fact they were original is meaningless. $3.5 million asking price is perhaps an indication of the owner’s sanity.

    Like 11
    • Gerard Frederick

      The owner is looking for some guy with limitless money, sort of like the total idiots who spent multi millions for a blank canvass because it once was in the studio of some artist-fraud. There are these people who pay insane amounts of money for pure, unmitigated junk, so why not for a gorgeous Porsche?

      Like 1
  4. Jack Quantrill

    Those Rudge wheels have splined hubs with knockoff center hubs. I had them on a ‘56 1500 GT Carrera. Tough to convert.

    Like 3
    • Chas H

      Likely it was just as easy to convert to discs. I’ve converted the standard drums to discs on a couple of 356s.

      Like 2
  5. James C Crawford

    The price is ridiculous….period

    Like 11
    • John S Dressler

      Absolutely James. You could buy an entire American-made classic car collection for $3.5M. I’ve never seen any single vehicle on wheels that I’d pay that much money for. Unbelievable.

      Like 8
  6. malcolm boyes

    Just glad I’ve kept my 56 sunroof coupe!

    Like 4
  7. DeeBee

    The car means nothing other than a really nice, clean example of a 356A to anyone outside of the Porsche Club of America, when it comes down to it. I’d look for another nice example, and advise the current owner of this one to sell it at auction to get a ballpark on its real value.

    Like 3
  8. Lowell Peterson

    Unbelievably egomaniac seller. Current bid is close or more than value. In todays wierd Porsche market! Talk about a bubble!!

    Like 3
  9. Andrew Uprichard

    Once I saw the guy driving a roadster on the open roads IN A MASK I realized this really was an episode of the Twilight Zone.

    Like 3
  10. mike

    Porsche people are a strange bunch.

  11. Kuzu

    Seller is here.
    PCA page did not except “auction”
    Wording
    So had to put a number 3560000
    Not intended to be 3,560.000
    Sorry for the misunderstanding.
    Best health to every one

    Like 2
  12. bobhess bobhess Member

    Well, that cleans that up. BTW, did you catch where someone paid 1.5 million for a banana taped to a plain white background and called it art?

    • Gerard Frederick

      I love art, ever since as a boy seeing a Lionel Feininger in a store window. I am also quite cognizant of the fact that art is an always developing thing, like languages, it lives. What we are witnessing now is however not a development but rather a degeneration into madness – hence the fools who pay massive amounts for pure junk. Oicasso admitted exactly that in an interview with a smal South African magazine years ago. He said something to the effect that the more insane and horrid his creations became, the more stupid art collectors were willing to pay. I think a similar thing can be said about automotive collectors.

      Like 2
  13. Max

    I’d just like to drive it. Once.

  14. Kenn

    Isn’t that the same type of car in which James Dean was killed?

    • Jack Quantrill

      Dean, raced a speedster, but was killed in a 550 Spyder.

      Like 4
  15. Norman Reyome

    A Volkswagen rebodied… and NOT an attractive car in my opinion….

    Like 1
  16. bobhess bobhess Member

    Sorry Norman. No VW in this one.

    Like 2
  17. malcolm boyes

    Yes Norman..these are very different from VW’s and I have both. The 356 was far ahead of its time in build quality, handling etc. I can still show modern cars the way home on the twisties in my 56…and this lovely Speedster will do the same. I agree the prices are hard to swallow but it reflects what enthuisiasts think of these cars..

    Like 2

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