1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster
In early 2016, Jerry Seinfeld decided to put three cars from his extensive car collection up for auction. One of those models was a 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster, and it is kind of a big deal. The car you’re looking at in the pictures is Chassis No. 84908 with Coachwork done by Reutter.
It was a late production model and was one of just 151 examples built. Making it even rarer, is that it is one of only 13 Speedsters – and the only Carrera Speedster – to be finished in Auratium Green. This example was recently restored to its original specifications and, in turn, has won itself a few Concours wins including the Best in Class honors at the Quail Motorsports Gathering and the Annual 356 Club Dana Point Concours d’Elegance.
This particular 356 A went under the hammer at the 2016 Amelia Island and changed hands for more than $1 million, making it one of the most expensive 356s in history. Keep reading to find out more about it.
Updated 03/14/2016: Jerry Seinfeld sold his Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster at the 2016 Amelia Island Auction for the amazing price of $1.54 million.
Note: All images copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company
Continue reading to learn more about the 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster.
The Porsche 356 was the first production car to wear a Porsche badge. Ferdinand Porsche, and his son (also named Ferdinand, but usually called “Ferry”) had been involved in the auto industry for a long time, but Ferry had a vision to make road cars with his family name on them. During WWII he had owned a Volkswagen that he had supercharged, and this gave him an idea, that a small car with a reasonable amount of power could be more fun than a big car with a lot of power. Thus the idea for the 356 was born, and the car would grow up along with the company that made it.
Since the 356 was Porsche’s first model (debuting in 1948), and it would stay in production for a fairly long period of time, every 356 tells a part of the story of the early years of Porsche. As the most popular variant of the car, the 356B gives us a particularly interesting cross section of company history. The 356 you see here is a 1960 model, notable for being the first of the 356s that would incorporate upgrades that would lead a few years later to the 911. Indeed, early 911 sketches were made alongside the plans for upgrading the 1960 356.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1960 Porsche 356 B 1600 Cabriolet.
Back in the early years of Porsche, technology was very limited and cars were, of course, far simpler than they are today. This meant that they also typically had much less power than today’s cars. There is no better example of said simplicity than looking at a Porsche from the 1950s and comparing it to today’s Porsches.
The most beloved Porsche of the `50s is far and away the 1600 Sportster. This compact roadster was far from fast, but it was always regarded as a nimble a fun-to-drive car. The 356A Sportster of the late 1950s is actually given a lion’s share of the credit for revolutionizing the sports car realm and showed that a car doesn’t need to be high-powered to be fun to drive.
With only 2,922 Speedsters ever built, it has become a true collector’s item that garners a ton of attention and money, especially when one hits the auction block. Well, that is exactly what we have, as RM Auctions is selling off a 1957 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster in Monterey, California on August 17th and 18th, 2012.
Click past the jump to read all about this model being auctioned off.
The Porsche 356 was a Porsche sports car sold from 1948 through 1965, and Porsche’s first production automobile. It was designed by Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche. His father, Ferdinand, Sr., was the designer of the original Beetle, and the 356 was designed utilizing may Beetle parts, including important drivetrain components.
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.
A lot of cars can be called classics or even highly-desirable, but few have had a cult following so wild that they can be called a legend. That’s exactly what the Porsche Speedster is, and the 356a Speedster is still so desirable that it has become the object of affection for various replica companies in recent years. To understand the 356a Speedster, it’s important to understand the original Porsche 356. Built from 1950 to 1955, the original 356 was the first production vehicle to carry the Porsche badge. It was built specifically with speed in mind and was a two-seater with a completely new chassis, making it lighter and more agile. In 1956 Porsche debuted a revised version dubbed the 356a, and while it looked reasonably similar to the original 356, there was a lot of revisions made. The downside to the 356a, however, is that it was expensive.
American Porsche dealer, Max Hoffman, realized that the 356a would sell better here in the States if it could be inexpensive enough to compete with the Triumphs and Mgs at the time, so he requested a cheaper model from Porsche. Porsche’s answer was the 356a Speedster – a model that had only the bare necessities. As the story goes, the 356a Speedster became amazingly popular with enthusiasts and racers at the time and earned itself a place in American sports car culture. Furthermore, it became integrated into Californian culture where its basic configuration and lack of advanced weather equipment was more than appropriate and still is to this day.
That love for the car in the California market is surely part of the reason that the car has maintained such a cult-like following over the years. To this day, there are various replica companies that will happily build you one, and originals still pop up in auction houses here and there. The funniest part about the whole situation is that the 356a Speedster, despite its lack of amenities, has been found to be worth significantly more than the better-equipped 356a. With that said, let’s take a closer look at the 356a and talk a little more about it.
Keep reading for our full review of the 356a Speedster