• A rare and desirable matching-numbers early 4-cam Speedster

• Believed to be the eighth pre-A Carrera Speedster produced

• Period SCCA competition history

• Believed to have just 20,000 miles from new

• Fantastically restored by some of the marque’s best

• 4-cam engine prepared by Bill Doyle

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1956 Porsche 356 1500 Carrera Speedster
Number Produced:Pre-A Carrera Speedsters, 15
Original List Price:$3,817
Tune Up Cost:$3,750
Club Info:356 Registry, Porsche Club of America

This car, Lot 43, sold for $1,485,000, including buyer’s premium, at the Gooding and Company auction at Pebble Beach, CA, on August 17, 2013.

Let’s cut to the conclusion right up front and say that this Carrera was extremely well sold. How did that happen?

There was a lot to like about this car, and Gooding’s usual excellent research and catalog write-up explained it all. First, it was in the sweetest of sweet spots for a Porsche 356 — the intersection of Speedster and 4-cam Carrera engine. Those two segments have been the most rapidly appreciating among all 356s. Combine them and the result here was explosive. Additionally, factory records indicate that this car was the eighth Carrera Speedster built.

Second, the car reportedly had all its original body panels, bumpers, wheels, and its Kardex (factory build sheet) matching-numbers engine and gearbox. The owner and auction house believed the odometer reading of just 20,000 miles, which would help confirm the originality.

Third, the car was restored both mechanically and cosmetically — by some of the very best names in the business. Angelo Pino was credited with the bodywork and paint. Billy Doyle rebuilt the intricate 4-cam Type 547 engine. Jon Bunin did the gearbox. Agustin Vidaurri at Autos International did the interior. Bill Perrone did the final assembly. That lineup is all-star in the Porsche world.

Fourth, the car had a very limited early race history, but some is much better than none.

You already know that I think this purchase was over the top. What, you ask, would I recommend for someone considering this car? We have some insight into that, inasmuch as three people asked me to look at this car for them before the auction. The preferred procedure is a litany that SCM readers all know, but let’s review:

Pre-A Carreras less desirable

First, this Speedster was a late continuation build of the so-called “pre-A” 356, assembled in December 1955. Thus, it was a model before the more advanced 356A that was introduced as a 1956 model. Quick and easy research will reveal that the pre-A suspension is derivative of Volkswagen technology, and the car handles substantially less capably than later 356s. In the pecking order of Carrera Speedsters, this model is the bottom of the food chain, although it is nonetheless a pretty exclusive food chain (see sidebar).

Second, the named craftsmen who worked on the car could have been approached. While Pino is deceased, the others were available and easy to locate and contact. Had that been done, the finding would have been that the car was not universally endorsed.

Third, there are a goodly number of qualified marque experts who could have been asked to inspect and evaluate this Speedster in person.

What an adviser might have said was that some of the trim was reproduction, the number on the engine lid was not findable — probably obscured by heavy paint — some edges were a tad ragged and Bondo was clearly present inside a couple of panels. Most importantly, the car was pretty fulsomely coated in plastic filler.

It is a well-accepted fact that Pino specialized in excellent metalwork with lead, and he never used Bondo. So the bodywork is a conundrum. A nit perhaps, but indicative of a restoration done to flip the car

was the painted-over sand and dirt in the seams between the wheel discs and the rims. And the toolkit contained only one of the rare and expensive 4-cam tools.

A huge world record

Obviously, at least two potential buyers had no doubts. The end result was well above that of any known — even for much more desirable Carrera GT Speedsters. It was a huge world record for a GS Speedster, even more so for a pre-A GS Speedster. On the other hand, there are only 154 Carrera Speedsters of any variety. Perhaps the future will show that this example was simply bought early, but until then we will hope for better clarity. ?

(Introductory description courtesy of Gooding & Company.)


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