BLINKING BACK into the light after being dry-stored for more than forty years, this 1957 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster was always going to be the star turn at Auctions America’s sale at Hilton Head on November 5th. Few in the sale room could have predicted the feeding frenzy that happened when bidding kicked off, infl ating the fi nal sale price to almost three times the car’s pre-auction estimate.
In fact, the car’s backstory generated such interest that it sold for more than many perfectly restored examples, another instance of barn-fi nd syndrome loosening punters’ wallets. Auctions America expected the gavel to fi nally falls somewhere between $258,000 and $323,000, but the eventual winning bid of $605,000 (before any auction fees) was a genuine eyeopener.
The appeal of this timecapsule vehicle isn’t hard to appreciate. ““This timewarp Porsche 356 is a true gem,” said Donnie Gould, President, Auctions America. “As more Porsche Speedsters are found and restored, it is becoming nearly impossible to fi nd such an original car, let alone one that comes from almost six decades in single-ownership.
It’s in lovely survivor condition, despite having been sitting in a storage unit in a suburb of Chicago since 1975. The auction preinspection mentioned some minor corrosion around the battery box – a common affl iction with 356s – but otherwise there was a clean bill of health. Originally purchased in May of 1957 from Shakespeare Motors in Hoopeston, Illinois, the Speedster was a summer car, racking up 25,000 miles between 1957 and 1975 by the same owner.
In 1975 the owner was no longer able to drive the car through disability and the car was parked. The original owner passed away in 2011, and the Speedster was acquired by a family friend who sourced much of the original paperwork. The new owner is faced with the dilemma of keeping the car in as-is condition or embarking on a nut and bolt resto. We’d wager that this Aquamarine Blue café racer will stay for a while with its charismatic patina.