Even though the Volkswagen Beetle-derived 1939 Type 64 is widely regarded as the very first Porsche, it's the 356 that effectively put the Zuffenhausen brand on the sports car map. The first production vehicle from the fabled German brand was assembled between 1948 and 1965 in multiple hardtop and open configurations, including this Speedster built back in 1955.
As part of the 2021 Porsche Restoration Challenger, Porsche Santa Clarita in sunny California USA spruced up the open-top 356 after buying the car from its second owner who had modified it for racing during half of century of ownership. Featuring coachwork by Reutter Karosserie, the Speedster now boasts shaved rocker mouldings and rear reflectors, not to mention an elegant louvred boot lid and chrome-heavy bumpers.
Dressed to impress in a blue-green, six-layer paint, the 356 Speedster rides on magnesium Halibrand knock-off gold-painted wheels measuring 15 inches at the front and 16 at the rear. The restoration process was overseen by Galpin and the car now boasts an upgraded 1600SC flat-four air-cooled pushrod engine, which back in the day pumped out 95 bhp. Output is channelled to the rear wheels via a 519 transaxle.
The exhaust and brakes are factory Porsche, and so is the suspension at both axles. Inside, those are OEM bucket seats wrapped in red leather with tartan inserts, while the trim has been revised to match the lovely body colour. The dials have been carried over to maintain the vintage look and there's more tartan to be found on the door storage pockets.
Rounding off the changes are chromed engine components and manifolds to complement the shiny bits on the outside as a reminder of a bygone era.