Porsche 356A Speedster
One of the most desirable collector models is the 356 "Speedster", introduced in late 1954 after Max Hoffman, the sole US importer of Porsches, advised the company that a lower-cost, somewhat spartan open-top version could sell well in the American market.
With its low, raked windshield (which could be removed for weekend racing), bucket seats and minimal folding top, the Speedster was an instant hit, especially in Southern California. Production of the Speedster peaked at 1,171 cars in 1957 and then started to decline. It was replaced in late 1958 by the "Convertible D" model.
It featured a taller, more practical windshield, [allowing improved headroom with the top erected], roll-up glass side-windows and more comfortable seats. The following year the 356B "Roadster" convertible replaced the D model but the sports car market's love affair with top-down motoring was fading; soft-top 356 model sales declined significantly in the early 60s. Today these early four-cylinder models are highly coveted by collectors and enthusiasts worldwide.
To distinguish among the major revisions of the model, 356's are generally classified into a few major groups. 356 coupes and "cabriolets" (soft-top) built through 1954 are readily identifiable by their split (1948 to 1952) or bent (center-creased, 1953 to 1954) windshields. In 1955, with numerous small but significant changes, the 356A was introduced. Its internal factory designation, "Type 1," gave rise to its nickname "T1" among enthusiasts.
In early 1957 a second revision of the 356A was produced, known as Type 2 (or T2). In late 1959 more significant styling and technical refinements gave rise to the 356B (a T5 body type).
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California and in August of 2010 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
Source: RM Auctions and Wikipedia, 2011
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel