My idea might hold as much water as Oliver Stone telling us who shot
Kennedy, but I think it was all part of a wickedly conceived plan

The Speedster is widely acknowledged to be the Porsche that spearheaded the company's successes in the United States and, ultimately, the world. The new open Porsche was the ultimate car for the enthusiast who wanted to drive during the week and go racing on the weekends. It received immediate acclaim and in both pushrod and four-cam versions was a mainstay on North American and European racing circuits.
Legendary movie star James Dean also owned a 1500S Speedster, which was his first racer. It was also the car he traded in on the 550 Spyder in which he was tragically killed in an accident on the way to his first race in his new car.
For every new model Porsche builds, there are prototypes and pre-series cars. However, these cars are destroyed and never reach customers. In the early days Porsche rarely designated a car as a prototype or pre-series vehicle. In fact, the only production car of the 356 series designated as a prototype is one of the Speedsters in this collection.
For those who seek even more unusual examples, the collection also includes the only two Pre-A Carrera (four-cam) "RS" Speedsters with 547 Spyder motors. In addition, the first Speedster ever raced is part of the collection, as is the first four-cam Carrera to see competition.
It took more than 20 years to assemble and restore this collection of six stunning Speedsters. Each car was restored to impeccable standards by world-renowned expert Tim Goodrich, and each has won numerous awards. Many would argue that the Speedster was Porsche's most important car. Few would argue that the six stunning and rare open 356 Porsches on offer here constitute the finest collection of Speedsters extant anywhere in the world.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:Porsche 356 Speedster
Years Produced:1954-59
Number Produced:4,243
Original List Price:$2,295
SCM Valuation:$45,000-$200,000
Tune Up Cost:$350-$500
Distributor Caps:$18
Engine Number Location:on rear-most portion of engine block, below generator and above crankshaft pulley
Club Info:356 Registry, 27244 Ryan Rd., Warren, MI 48092
Alternatives:1953-55 Triumph TR2, 1956-59 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce, 1954-64 Mercedes-Benz 190SL
Investment Grade:A/B

This collection of six 356 Speedsters was offered as single lot, and failed to sell at the Bonhams and Butterfields Carmel sale, held August 19, 2005.
I was there last year at the Speedster Reunion, having driven my Speedster across this beautiful land along with a pack of like-minded idiots-all 3,700 miles. As I arrived at the Reunion and strolled the grass of the Quail Lodge (lamenting once again that I hadn’t shipped my car, flown out a week early and spent the time playing golf on the premiere property), I began to devour the greatness of that many Speedsters in one place. Air-sucker nirvana was upon us geeks.
As I read the car cards, I remember being oddly dumbstruck at so many significant early cars being attributed to one owner. The same guy owns all of these cars? You’re kidding me, I thought. I’ve known collectors who stick to one marque, one country, one era, but one type of car? Kudos for getting this impressive group together over 20 years of hard work, but I’m a bit weirded-out at the thought of anyone spending this much time on such a thing.
But I’m not so freaked out anymore, as I’ve developed a theory that explains everything. This idea might hold as much water as Oliver Stone telling us who shot Kennedy, but I think it was all part of a wickedly conceived plan. Organizing an entire event (two years of work, at least) around the anniversary of the Speedster in 2004, not only to share the love of these cars but to self-
promote your collection into the centerpiece, have a book produced, and get coverage in countless magazines, only to offer up the entire lot a year later at auction shows forethought of proportions that would dwarf Mount Olympus. But that’s what I think happened here.
I chatted with an informal panel of Porsche lovers, dealers and collectors about this lot, and asked if any of them would bid to own it or know anyone who would. (My unscientific panel consisted of Alex Finigan, Dave Mohlman, Art Vandelay, yours truly, and about ten other folks in the car world, including a guy who used to star in a TV sitcom.) The results were consistent, with the lovers of all things Ferry giving me a resounding “No.” Not even a maybe.
This is not because these 356 Speedsters are unimportant, but because rarely do sets of anything get sold like this. The rumor mill says that the reserve was $3m and the owner turned down $2.6m. If these were my cars and someone had made me this offer, I’d have six empty slots in my garage and be breakin’ open the Nebuchadnezzar of Louis Roederer 1995 Cristal I’ve been keeping for that special occasion.
Maybe we’re all wrong and there is at least one other guy who will benefit from having a sextet of similar yet different Porsches. This will no doubt play out over the next few months, but that yet-to-be-named bidder will likely have his eye on perhaps one or two of the cars (I’d take the prototype Speedster myself) and parcel off the balance to recoup his dough. These things, in my opinion, are worth more sold singly.
(Stephen Serio has been buying, selling and searching out barn find 356s for over 18 years. Historical and descriptive information courtesy of the auction company.)

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