Rare Speedster! 1958 Porsche 356 A

Well here’s another item from our friends at Gullwing Motor Cars. It’s not a barn find exactly (certainly not at its price level) but it will be an interesting automobile to review nevertheless. The car in question is a 1958 Porsche 356 “A” Speedster, one of only 3,676 Speedsters from the 356 A series produced. It is located in Astoria, New York, and available here on Gullwing Motor Cars website for $229,500.

The last offering from GMC covered here on Barn Finds was this 1963 Porsche 356 B and it was met with rather mixed reviews. This Porsche is a bit different as it is a rare model, only produced between the model years 1955 and 1958, and it is in considerably better shape than the 356 B. Total 356 A production clocked in at 21,045 copies so while not a rare Porshe per se, it is the Speedster body style that adds considerably to this 356’s value and collectability status.  The Speedster is recognizable by its cut-down, low profile, removable windscreen, a design, coupled with a stripped-down bearing, that encouraged road course weekend racing.

There’s a lot going on with this Porsche so let’s take it detail by detail. One of the supposedly rare aspects of this Speedster was its original Fjord Green livery, one of only 73 so painted. As a matter of fact, the listing mentions Fjord Green three times and the thought percolating is if it was so rare a color, why was this Porsche refinished in a different shade? Well “was” is the operative word here as all I see is an attractive shade of dark blue. Not to be snarky but it seems that what this car was is irrelevant, but what it is now, looks great. The body panels are straight and Porsche 356 enemy #1, rust, is not visible and the seller confirms that this Porsche is rust free with a solid floor pan. The trim appears to be all in place though research would indicate that this Porsche should bear a “Speedster” emblem on either of its fenders near the beltline. The cut-down windscreen frame appears to show signs of discoloration but all-in-all, the exterior of this 356 A presents quite well. The seller, however, suggests that “the nice and straight body is ready for a repaint”; better start looking for some Fjord Green paint…

The interior is a different matter. The seller states that the original seats are “ready to be redone”. I think that’s the case with about the last 300 cars that I have reviewed. Something is always ready to be redone; the debate raging on is who’s going to do it and how much will it cost. The seller adds, “Offered with new tan side curtains, door panels, trim, and soft-top fabric.” Why not install it all and help with the presentation and the sale? But then maybe the thought is that those items might get in the way of the impending Fjord Green paint and the debate over who’s going to fix the seats. Whatever the case, the interior is basically intact with a steering wheel that looks to be in fair condition and instrument panel gauges are all present and clear; there is no reference to their operability, however.

A 1958 Porsche 356 A Speedster was originally fitted with a 1,600 CC, flat four-cylinder “boxer” engine that generated 59 HP while running through a four-speed, manually shifted transaxle. Somewhere in this Porsche’s past, maybe when the Fjord Green was given the bum’s rush, the engine got 86’d too. Under the boot now, is a more powerful Porsche 912 engine of unknown provenance. The Porsche 912 (1965-1969) came equipped with a 1,600 CC flat-four, boxer engine with horsepower in the range of 102 – similar size and design to this 356’s original motor, just considerably more grunt. The seller adds, “the car starts right up and drives well” though driving just “well” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for a car with this price tag. Nevertheless, the performance improvement with the 912 motor must be palpable.

After serious consideration, I have decided to bestow the status of  “youstabee” on this 356 A Speedster. The alleged valuable original color, coupled with the replacement, non-original style engine, knocks this one way out of any pretense of originality. Add in the “assemble it yourself” interior and a price of almost a quarter mil, and that’s a lot of cabbage for a vehicle that possesses “former” notable qualities/features.  What do you think of the likelihood of this Porsche selling at or near its asking price? And who’s the real target market? There is a purist price requested but not a purist example offered.

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Comments

  1. TimM

    The price point seems a little steep to me!! Nice clean looking car though!!!

    Like 3
  2. GuernseyPagoda Member

    Almost a quarter of a mil for a car that is indeed rare, however is the wrong color, non-original engine, and still needs restored. I am no Porsche expert either, but seems a little steep. How else would Peter Kumar get his millions though?

    Like 13
    • Peter

      Kumar owns a lot of very expensive real estate in NYC, that how he gets most of his money.

  3. ccrvtt

    Excellent write-up Mr. O’Donnell. You managed to get ‘fjord green’ in 4 times by my count. I don’t know the seller or his business but I do know he seems to come up with what should be very desirable cars at healthy (for him) price points that all need ‘just a little tweaking’.

    Concours auction quality pricing is a bit more realistic on a concours auction quality car.

    And this ain’t it.

    Like 14
  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    Not much original left on this car including the original drum brakes and wheels. This is a pretty scruffy car without much going for it for the asking price.

    Like 8
  5. Had Two

    Bob Hess recognized it, the original, large, finned, brake drums are gone
    and likely replaced with later model discs. The hubcaps are not original
    and from a disc brake later model. I had an original dark blue ’58
    Speedster “A” many years go. The windshield surround was not gold.
    It does look like the original transmission shifter assembly so maybe
    the transmission is an original. They were notchy to shift in the day.
    Along about the time of the T-6’s it seems the transmissions shifted
    smoother. Still….given that these cars were sometimes throw-away
    race cars in the 70’s, the fact this one survived mostly intact is worthy
    of respect. It’s not going to win any prizes at a PCA Meet, but that
    912 engine should propel it along very nice. Go slow on the shifts!

    Like 4
  6. Dougie Member

    No way on that price. Maybe $150k.

    Like 3
  7. Gaspumpchas

    229.5- filthy engine thats non orig. Seats and gut need some work.What am I missing here- how could you offer this up with the gut looking like that. I’m an ol grey hair but for that kind of coin I’d expect to see everything done. Good luck. Stay safe.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 5
  8. bobhess bobhess Member

    Had Two…. We also “had two” back when they weren’t worth more than our house. One note.. the finned aluminum drums didn’t come until the Bs were introduced. The ’64 and ’65 Cs had four wheel disc brakes. Our first race car was a ’59 Convertible D with the finned B brakes and a pumped 912 engine. We did take the shift linkage out of the B that the brakes came off of and put it on the original factory close ratio transmission in the D. Fast and fun.

    Like 4
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Hey Bob, I never knew about the removable windshield. I cannot tell how it is fastened from the photo. Can you tell me how it works? Thanks, Mike.

  9. Wellington

    I believe that there is a typo or pricing error. Did BAT confuse this vehicle with a concours car?

    Like 3
  10. rick

    looks like the refitted the 912 disc brakes also, based on the 65and up hub caps

  11. Big Mike

    Not to sound rude but for a quarter mill it should literally br showroom new.

    Like 3
  12. Joe Haska

    I have to agree with the majority, on the pricing and value, but I know very little about the Porsche market. I do enjoy these listings , gives you an idea how the other half lives.

  13. Louis Chen

    This example looks good. As for the price with uncompleted restoration is interesting! The down side is the non-orginal engine. Good luck to the new buyer?

  14. bobhess bobhess Member

    Windshield posts go through two holes in the bodywork with retainer bolts under each side of the dashboard. Easy to take in and out but if you need to replace the rubber or the glass pump up your sense of humor, especially since most of the parts are aftermarket and usually don’t quite fit properly. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, the ’64/65 Cs and the 911/912s had the steel wheels as standard through ’68 or ’69. The Fuchs alloys were first available in ’70 on the 911s. BTW, the ’59 Convertible Ds and the ’60 – ’62 B Roadsters had the removable windshields.

    Like 1
  15. Paul

    I‘m not sure about the Fuchs – I have a 1968 912 and understand the 5.5J x15 Fuchs were an option.

  16. Jaker76

    Really like to have what they are smoking to price this non numbers matching, wrong engine, interior needs completely redone, car needs restored and wtf does it matter what color it left the factory as not that color now!!! Gotta think these folks have reached the level of ludicrous pricing!!!

    Like 2
  17. Dave Mazz

    For $229,500, there are a number of other cars I’d rather have….. On second thought, for $229,500, there are a number of nice homes I’d rather have!! :-) :-)

    Like 3

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