Porsche’s first production car, the Porsche 356, has a special place in Porsche’s history and in the collections of Porsche enthusiasts. The Porsche 356 Speedster is one of the most coveted of all Porsche models. It was introduced in 1954 following U.S. importer Max Hoffman’s request to Porsche for a stripped down, sports orientated 356 to compete with the British sportscars that were popular in America in the early 1950’s.
Described as an engineering masterpiece at the time by the motoring press, the Porsche 356 Speedster was ultra-light with quick, responsive steering and impressive brakes and was powered by flat four engines with their low centre of gravity. It therefore became popular with amateur racers for use in sportscar events with its racing-style bucket seats, removable side curtains and a low removeable windshield.
Invoiced to Lindsay Saker, South African Porsche importers of Johannesburg, in October 1958. The Kardex lists first owner as S. D. van der Merwe, father of Sarel van der Merwe, multiple South African Motorsport champion who raced for Porsche at Lemans several times and won the Daytona 24 hours in a Porsche powered March.
Shortly after purchase and having ordered 356 Carrera GT spec brakes, Mr van der Merwe started using this car in motorsport events. He entered the 1959 Grand Central Nine Hour endurance race, the previous venue to the famous Kyalami Nine Hour, and finished in a notable second place beating other impressive entrants including a Porsche 550 Spyder, a Carrera powered Porsche 356 coupe and a Maserati racing car.
Mr van der Merwe sold this Porsche 356 Speedster around 1964 and it passed through 3 owners before the current owner bought it in 1980. He drove it for several years before deciding to restore it approximately 25 years ago. Today the car still retains its 356 Carrera GT brakes and has had weber carburetors fitted (original carbs still with owner) and recently; lightweight magnesium rims were fitted.
This is an opportunity to secure a rare right hand drive Porsche 356 Speedster with impressive period racing history in very good condition.
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