Despite being one of the most collectible Porsche 356 models out there now, the Speedster was originally introduced as a cheaper, stripped option of the earlier 356 models that would be imported into America to compete against English imported sportscars.
The Speedster, designated initially as the Type 540 -- the American Roadster, was initially designed to look akin to the Jaguar XK120. Testing on the track led Ferry Porsche to decide the frame needed to be made in aluminum to decrease the weight, meaning production would switch from the Stuttgart line to the coach-builder Heuer-Glaser. In spite of the 'American Roadster' being lighter, having better acceleration, cornering and braking than the Jaguar XK120 it was not fit to be mass produced due to its aluminum structure.
Max Hoffman, sole importer of Porsches in the USA, met with Porsche and came up with the idea of a very minimal 356 model based from the Type 540. The Speedster would have a low raked windscreen, bucket-seats, a minimal folding top, and side curtains instead of windows. Production was overseen and designed by Reutter to keep costs to a minimum. In addition to this, heaters and tachometers were optional to keep the list cost below $3,000.00. Although the Speedster was so cheap initially, this model is now one of the most coveted amongst collectors.
Happy birthday to this Speedster, 12/14/2016! Although this Speedster reached the age of 60 today it still looks like the young-buck it once was. The Aquamarine Blue Metallic paint still turns heads just as is did back in the day -- equipped with engine #63717 and transmission #12421, beige leatherette interior, pristine chrome and scripts. It doesn't take much wit to see why these model-types are one of the most desired within the 356 line-up: they are absolutely stunning!