Yard Find – 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster

project rear convertibleThere are lots of things you can do to spruce up your back yard. Garden gnomes, exotic plants, water features, a hammock or even a swimming pool. They all look great, but a genuine Porsche 356 Speedster is not one of them! Located in Los Angeles, California, this car is more yard find than barn find, but it is advertised as the real thing and even with its dilapidated appearance, it’s worthy of note. According to the seller, it has been under the same ownership since 1971, and presumably it spent many of those 42 years outside, because even from a few basic pictures it’s clear that this thing is almost too far gone. Actually, though, it is anything but too far gone since, after all, this is one of the most collectible of all early Porsches, no matter how long it’s been sitting under a tree.

The Speedster was actually conceived as an effort to keep costs down. U.S. importer Max Hoffman, like most, knew that the American market was the most important one for postwar sports car manufacturers, and while Porsche‚Äôs 356 was a popular car on both road and track, it was also expensive. Purchase price was usually around $4,000, which put the tiny 356 with its Beetle DNA in the same territory as the bigger, sleeker, more powerful Jaguar XK120. Hoffman suggested to Porsche as early as 1950 that they needed a model priced to compete with the British roadsters that dominated the sports car market in the States. In 1954, Stuttgart finally came up with what Max Hoffman and, presumably, American motorists wanted. The new Speedster was essentially a reworked 356 Cabriolet with a lower raked windscreen that could be removed for racing, bucket seats, a basic folding top, and side curtains in place of roll up windows. A spartan interior and clever use of optional extras kept the base price at around $3,000. The Speedster remained the cheapest car in the Porsche lineup until it was replaced in 1958 by the Convertible D.

Despite rust in the floors, despite the lack of an engine, and despite the many thousands it will take to get it anywhere near ready for life beyond the garden, this car is currently blowing up on eBay. The racing connection and the rarity makes the Speedster a favorite among the Porsche faithful and really anyone who likes sports cars, so even one very much in project condition is going to get people’s attention. This auction is one to watch.

Check out the 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster here on eBay, where bidding has reached $80,200.

Comments

  1. Skeptic Chuck says:

    Hello – Is that the sound of P.T. Barnum twirling in his grave that I hear?? I know, I know…someday somebody will shell out a million bucks at a big auction for this thing after it is reconstituted and beautiful.

    • I just saw this article. I’m glad to inform you this car “Issabelle” lives and is fully restored. History shows Bruce Jennings was involved and raced this car two times along with Bill Shaprow. who was the second owner of the car. It turns out this car has been a race car since 1960. She was just entered into her first inaugural event. The Copper state 1000 unfortunately 25 miles into the event she had a problem with the shifter and a vibration due to a what we now determine as a bent axle. More to come soon.

  2. PorshaBoyLee says:

    Only in CA and the SW U.S…..this Speedster would have rusted in half years ago on the East Coast. Hooray for the yard find! Porsche Lives!
    Lee Raskin, Baltimore, MD. Porsche historian/author: Porsche Speedster TYP540: Quintessential Sports Car, 2004; James Dean At Speed, 2005, (Amazon.com)

  3. At least it’s sitting under a tree and there is not a tree growing up through it.

  4. Karl Pallastrini says:

    Already at 80K on EBAY???? Dr. Porsche must be smiling in his grave. The entire factory was probably not worth that much when the car was built. Yet another rescue for the 356!

  5. Anonymous says:

    had 1957 1963 wish i had them to drive, i wish i never sold them never found a car that i could drive like them, had more fun then any car i own,

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