The first major style innovation since 1950 was the introduction of the "Speedster" in 1954 primarily aimed at the Californian market, where in its 1500S form it became a popular race car. 1955 saw a major change in engine specifications with the 1500 being replaced by the 1600, providing Porsche with their first genuine 100 mph production car and detail changes to the bodywork introduced as the 356A.
The two-seater Speedster with its very low screen and side windows was aesthetically an immediate success and soon became a "cult car" amongst the Porsche devotees, as well as a favorite with film stars such as James Dean. As with all Porsche designs, their intrinsic beauty is their functional simplicity coupled to superb engineering, and the Speedster is just such an example. It is devoid of unnecessary embellishment and has a rather stark interior with three circular dashboard instruments containing tachometer, speedometer, and a combined fuel and oil temperature gauge and two bucket-style seats.
The gleaming red Speedster pictured here is a very special example, in that it has the rare and desirable Rudge knock-on wheels and a "Glasspar" detachable hard top. The car was exported new to America in mid-1955, its first owner being the then Governor of Massachusetts who only used it occasionally; it was then laid-up in dry storage from 1959 to 1987. The current owner has since had the car completely restored, both mechanically and cosmetically, and a new 90 bhp Super 90 Series engine installed, providing the ultimate performance specification for a Speedster with a maximum speed approaching 120 mph.
The Speedster is generally regarded as being the most desired of all 356 Series Porsches and to find one with the rare factory options makes this particular car an attractive investment providing exhilarating competition race bred performance, and the ultimate in charismatic appeal.