1952 Porsche 356 ‘America Roadster’

This isn’t technically a Speedster, but the Type 540 (Typ 540 K/9-1 to be very precise) – known more commonly as the America Roadster – started the idea. The American Roadster was the direct predecessor of the Speedster.

U.S. importer Max Hoffman convinced Porsche it needed a lightweight convertible to compete with the best from Jaguar and Austin-Healey. It only had an emergency folding roof and could keep up with larger sports cars of the era.

But the production methods used to create the America Roadster’s aluminum body proved to be too expensive, and in 1952 Porsche built only 21 units before its discontinuation in 1953. All but one of which were sold in the United States.

Picture Gallery

See more 1952 Porsche 356 ‘America Roadster’ Pictures

Specs & Performance

submitted by Richard Owen
type Series Production Car
built at Germany
coachbuilder Heuer/Gläser
production 21
engine Air Cooled Flat-4
displacement 1488 cc / 90.8 in³
compression 8.2:1
power 52.2 kw / 70 bhp @ 5000 rpm
specific output 47.04 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 115.7 bhp per tonne
driven wheels Rear Engine / RWD
curb weight 605 kg / 1334 lbs
length 3850 mm / 151.6 in
top speed ~180 kph / 111.8 mph

Auction Sales History

1952 Porsche Sport Roadster Typ 540 Series 2 – sold for $703,500. The example on offer has been in a private collection for most of the last 25 years. It is widely acknowledged as the most visually stunning. This aluminum roadster, Chassis 12362, known internally by Heuer as K8/14, was finished by Porsche on December 23, 1952 and was delivered in early 1953. Restored over an eight-year period in the 1980s to its original configuration and trim, it is in light radium green, with green leather interior and green top. The car has all the options that were offered (except a racing windscreen) plus one other – a voltmeter factory-installed in the instrument panel. Auction Source: 2005 Quail Lodge Motor Cars by Bonhams & Butterfields

1953 Porsche Roadster Typ 540 K/9-1 Chassis no. 12371 – sold for $529,500. This car, 12371 is that unique steel America Roadster and the only one to adhere to the July 1952 design drawing number 540.00.202. It has a number of distinguishing features over other America Roadsters, most noticeable aesthetically are that the top fender well is lower than on the other cars, there is also of course the fixed windshield and the car had a folded canvas top which stowed beneath a hinged deck behind the seats. Auction Source: 2009 Bonhams Exceptional Motorcars at Quail Lodge Resort