Despite looking outwardly similar to the preceding models, Porsche thoroughly updated their 356 line in 1956 and called their new model the 356A. At the core, this included a larger 1600 cc engine, but also a curved-glass windshield and a thoroughly revised suspension.
At the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show in September of 1955, Porsche released the 356A/1600 to the world with cabriolet, coupe and speedster bodies from Reutter. These were updated to better suit the improved gasoline and tire technologies of the period.
With the 356A came a larger 1582 cc engine that had higher compression to take advantage of the available higher octane fuels. A Type 616/2 Super engine was offered as an option with raised power.
Extensive testing by the experimental department known as Versuchsabteilung resulted in numerous suspension and drive line mounting changes before the final 356A specification was decided. They softened the springs by removing leaves from the torsion cars and fitted stiffer dampers. This was done to take advantage of a more modern tire technology which allowed for a smaller-diameter 15-inch tire and a wider tread with reduced air pressures.
From the outside, the 356A kept to the Porsche mantra of stepwise evolution. The new model was outwardly identical to the previous version except for the wider tires, a small rub-strip below the doors, a fully-curved front window and enamel paint replacing lacquer previously used.
Inside, Porsche fitted an all-new, flat-face dashboard that was sculpted around the new curved windshield. It included a padded-top, locking glovebox and a provision for a modern radio. Other interior appointments included a headlight flasher, automatic interior lighting, self-cancelling signal switches and, most importantly, a lower floor. Popular options were a steering-wheel lock and a clock.
At the 1957 Frankfurt Motor Show Porsche released the T2 body style with exhaust routing through the rear bumper over-riders. More importantly, the T2 cars stopped using the roller-bearing crankshafts and the Hirth crankshaft in the Super models. Other changes included changing the carburation from Solex to Zenith 32 NDIX. By 1959 the 356A was replaced outright by the 356B.
1958 Porsche 356 A Speedster 84026 – sold for $379,500 Beautiful Restoration of the Most Desirable Model Year. Engine Number Matches Factory Kardex. Includes Owner’s Manual, Tools, and Jack. Presented in Classic Silver with Red Leather. A Fantastic Example of the Iconic Porsche Speedster. 1,582 CC Flat-Four Cylinder Engine Dual Zenith 32 NDIX Carburetors 60 BHP at 4,500 RPM Auction Source: The Pebble Beach Auctions 2015 by Gooding and Company
1958 Porsche 356 A Speedster 83956 – sold for €298,000 This example is part of the last generation of 356 A Speedsters and was sold new in California. Though its model year is 1958, its first registration dates from 1957. In the early 1960s, the car belonged to one of the owners of the Porsche specialist in Oakland, Martin Johnson. It was then left unused for about 15 years, before being acquired in the early 1980s by another Porsche specialist, from California too, who used it regularly before starting an extensive restoration project in 2003. He sold it in Pebble Beach, around 2006. Five years later, the current owner, a well respected driver, made the acquisition.
In 2014, a new 1600 Super engine was installed, identical to the original, with the work done by much respected garage “Inzinger Porsche”, in Holland. On this occasion, the electrical system was converted to 12 volts, new wheels were fitted with Michelin XWX tyres, and Bilstein shocks were put in. The car is in excellent condition today, with a body painted in ivory color, very close to the original one. The leather interior is also in very good condition, the hood has been redone and the chrome is superb. Auction Source: Rétromobile 2015 by Artcurial Motorcars
1957 Porsche 356A Speedster 83237 – sold for €230,000 The 356A Speedster offered here comes with Porsche Certificate of Authenticity confirming that it was delivered finished in red with black interior and originally fitted with sealed beam headlights, coupé seats and USA bumpers. Professionally restored by the vendor, including an engine rebuild, new wiring loom and an interior re-trim, the car is offered with UK V5C registration document. Auction Source: 2015 Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais
1957 Porsche 356A Speedster 83032 – sold for $295,000 No expense spared bare-tub rotisserie restoration to concours condition. Most of original trim, body and mechanical components were restored rather than replaced. Rebuilt and recently serviced drivetrain. Restoration process of bare metal body, paint, mechanical, interior and top was overseen by Porsche expert Jim Shuh who also assembled the entire car. Adjustable 8-leaf torsion bars. Original stamped 032 hood, doors and engine lid. Original transmission. Factory correct 1957 Speedster motor approximately 100 engine numbers from the original unit. Properly date-stamped wheels. Finished in original color combination of Signal Red and Black interior. 1,000 miles since restoration. Restoration receipts. Factory Kardex. Tool kit, jack and date coded spare wheel. Tonneau cover and Speedster side curtains. Auction Source: Monterey 2014 by Mecum Auctions
1958 Porsche 356A Speedster 83989 – did not sell for $450,000 Weissach Award at the 2014 Monterey Porsche Parade. Professionally restored, brought down to bare metal tub with all parts removed. Rebuilt and detailed original engine. Original floors and panels showed the last 3 digits of the chassis number. Assembled with factory bumpers, guards and tubes, dated wheels, hub caps, ignition coil and carburetors. Original hardware with correct manufacturer on each bolt head. Rare color combination of Black with Red interior and Tan carpet. Restored windshield wiper unit under dash. Installed headlamp grills with gaskets. Overhauled trans-axle. External thermostat case oil cooling design. Four-corner suspension. New wiring harness. Chassis number 83989 completed October 24, 1957 and imported Through Hoffman Motors. Long-term ownership prior to restoration. Side curtains, top boot, tool kit. Copy of factory Kardex. Auction Source: Monterey 2014 by Mecum Auctions
1957 Porsche 356 A Speedster 83718 – sold for $445,500 Engine Rebuilt to 1600 Super Specifications During Restoration. Long-Term Colorado Car with Nearly 30 Years Under First Owner. Completely and Beautifully Restored. Accompanied by Porsche Certificate of Authenticity. Wonderful Example of an Iconic 1950s Sports Car. Striking Color Combination and Presentation. Auction Source: The Scottsdale Auctions by Gooding & Company
1958 Porsche 356A/1600 Speedster 84100 – sold for $253,000 Outstanding Example of Porsche’s Quintessential Sports Car. The Final Year of Speedster Production. Originally Delivered in Meissen Blue. Matching-Numbers Example with Original Panels. Cosmetic Restoration Performed by Custom Cars Unlimited. Approximately $10,000 Spent on Recent Mechanical Attention. Offered with Certificate of Authenticity, Tools, and Records. Auction Source: The 2013 Scottsdale Auctions by Gooding & Company
1957 Porsche 356A/1600 Speedster 82666 – sold for $242,000 According to its Porsche Certificate of Authenticity, this very desirable 1600 cc-powered Porsche 356 Speedster was originally built on May 9, 1957 with sealed-beam headlamps, and it was finished in red with 356 Coupe-type seats trimmed in black leatherette. Prior to acquisition by the current owner some 12 years ago, this southern car was professionally restored. It is presented with a highly detailed engine bay, and the restoration was recently freshened with new carpeting, a new top, and selectively restored brightwork. As confirmed by the aforementioned Kardex certificate, it is a matching numbers example. All around, this is a terrific example of Porsche’s legendary Speedster, a sports car for the true enthusiast with his sights set on Mulholland Drive. Auction Source: Monterey 2012 by RM Auctions
1958 Porsche 356A/1600 Speedster 84415 – sold for $330,000 Porsche’s Quintessential Sports Car. The Last Year of Speedster Production. Matching-Numbers Example. Displayed at the 2011 Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue. Recent Cosmetic Restoration Completed by The Last Detail. Offered with Certificate of Authenticity, Tool Kit and Service Records. Well Suited for Porsche Events, Shows and Tours. Auction Source: 2012 Pebble Beach Auctions by Gooding & Company
1957 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster 82887 – sold for €173,600 This superb and immaculate matching numbers 1,600 cc example from 1956 has always been a California-based car, until very recently, and as such, has benefitted from the dry, car-friendly climate of the Western United States. The previous owner maintained this beautiful 356 for 27 years, and it was during this time the car was restored to its current glory. The Speedster is equipped with correct headlamp stone guards, chrome-plated wheels, a Nardi steering wheel, as well as towel rail bumpers. The car also features the sensible addition of disc brakes for use in modern traffic conditions. Offered complete with a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity, this highly desirable and enjoyable 1956 Speedster is an enduring automotive benchmark with unmatched driving thrills. Auction Source: Monaco 2012 by RM Auctions
1956 Porsche 365 A Super Speedster 82106 – sold for $264,000 The Quintessential Porsche Sports Car. An Exceedingly Rare Factory-Delivered Super Speedster. Matching-Numbers Example. Wonderful Black over Red Color Combination. Ideal Open 356 for Porsche Events, Shows and Tours. Offered with Porsche Certificate of Authenticity. Auction Source: The Amelia Island Auction 2012 by Gooding & Company
1957 Porsche 356 A Speedster 63001 – sold for $187,000 Matching-Numbers Example. Delivered New Through Max Hoffman of New York. Recent Mechanical Refurbishment. Ideal for Rallies and Tours. Documented by Certificate of Authenticity, Kardex and Receipts. Auction Source: The Amelia Island Auction 2012 by Gooding & Company
1957 Porsche 356A Speedster 1600CC – sold for $160,000 Comprehensive restoration. The show quality cosmetic restoration complemented by full mechanical sorting that is ready for any touring event. Antique Ivory with Beige interior. Correct square weave carpets. Correct rubber floor mats. German canvas soft top. Beehive tail lamps. Over rider bumpers. Chrome wheels. Half moon hubcaps. Dual exit exhaust. Finely detailed engine bay. Auction Source: 2011 Monterey Daytime Auction by Mecum
1958 Porsche 356A/1600 Speedster – sold for $247,500 Outstanding Example of Porsche’s Quintessential Sports Car. The Last Year of Speedster Production. Originally Delivered in Meissen Blue. Matching-Numbers Example. Recent Cosmetic Restoration to Show Standards. Offered with Certificate of Authenticity, Tools and Service Records. Auction Source: 2011 Pebble Beach Auctions by Gooding & Company
1956 Porsche 356 A Speedster – did not sell for $180,000 Outstanding Example of an Iconic Sports Car. Desirable Late-Production T-1 Body Style. Lovely, Factory-Delivered Color Combination. Verified Matching-Numbers Example. Equipped with Rare, Optional Coupe Seats. Offered with Certificate of Authenticity, Jack and Tool Roll. Eligible for a Wide Variety of Driving Events. Auction Source: 2011 Amelia Island Auction by Gooding & Company
1958 Porsche 356 1600 S Speedster – did not sell for $170,000 Finished in silver and fitted with a correct Navy blue German canvas convertible top and a matching boot and side curtains, this Speedster is enhanced by a pair of period fog lamps on rare factory mounting brackets and a set of chrome wheels with matching year correct hub caps. In addition, the Speedster features a chrome driver’s sideview mirror, U.S.-specification body-colored bumpers, decos, and sport muffler exhaust and chromed tips. Inside the Spartan cockpit, the Speedster seats are trimmed with Navy blue vinyl, while the interior also features the correct German square weave tan carpeting, a beautifully refinished silver painted dash, correct VDO gauges, functioning electric 1958 date-coded tachometer and a properly restored banjo steering wheel. Under the bonnet, the upgraded flat-four engine is very presentable with correct finishes, and is period-correct with the exception of a pair of Weber carburetors yet still maintains the 356 A sheet metal and appearance. Auction Source: 2008 Monterey Preview
1957 Porsche 356A Speedster – sold for $132,000 As confirmed by its corresponding Certificate of Authenticity from Porsche, this 1957 Speedster was originally finished in red and fitted with rare blue leather upholstery, just as it is offered today. In addition, it was originally equipped with US-specification bumpers. The Speedster was acquired by the current enthusiast-owner from Paul Russell of Massachusetts in beautifully restored condition, with the work having been performed by noted restorer Dennis Frick of Pennsylvania. Auction Source: RM Auctions’ 2010 Sports & Classics of Monterey
1957 Porsche 356 Speedster – did not sell for $90,000 As supported by a Certificate of Authenticity from Porsche Cars North America, the 1957 Speedster presented here is a matching numbers example, delivered new with Coupe-style seats and a pair of sealed-beam headlights, along with a red exterior finish and a black leatherette interior. A rust-free and straight Arizona car, this particular Speedster was restored five years ago and today it retains a very attractive paint finish, complemented by an interior with both newer and near-perfect original components. Auction Source: 2009 RM Auctions Sports & Classics of Monterey