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1955 Porsche 356 Carrera Speedster


An integral part of Porsche’s DNA, this is one of the earliest cars sporting the legendary Carrera badge. Chassis 81079 is the third of eight production Carrera Speedsters, the famous roadgoing 356 transformed by Porsche’s famous 4-cam air cooled engine. 

The Carrera moniker was born out of Porsche’s victories in the epic long-range Carrera Panamericana road race. Run over 3,000 extremely dangerous kilometres, a 4-cam 550 piloted by works driver Hans Herrmann triumphed in 1954 in the 1.5L class, placing third overall. Hermann’s well-known verdict on his perilous feat:  “Glück hat, wer als Rennfahrer überlebt” – “Luck, for a racing driver, is to survive.”

For 1955, Porsche transplanted the competition 4-cam engine from Herrmann’s 550 into its new limited-production 356 Carrera Speedster, designed for a select group of privateer racers. Freely revving and with thrilling performance, the Ernst Fuhrmann-designed four-cam instantly turned the beautiful 356 into a hugely capable dual-purpose sports racer. 

Built December 1955 and issued a certificate of origin on January 4, 1956, this Carrera Speedster was imported via Max Hoffman and delivered new to California racer Dan Herman (or Baron Daniel von Hermann). 81079 enjoyed many years of SCCA competition with Herman and three later owners well into the late 1970s.

Found in long-term storage in 1991 by American marque expert Wayne Baker of San Diego California, Baker sourced the four-cam engine P90565A which is with the car today. Incredibly, this is also an extremely early example within five serial numbers of 80179 – and totally correct for this car. 81079 retains all its panels intact, including bonnet, deck lid and doors all numbered “079” to match the chassis. 

With a first restoration completed in 2005, this Carrera Speedster competed in the Colorado Grand and California Mille, inaugurating a modern life in competitive and touring events.  More recently in European ownership, 80179 has continued to run in events including the Gran Premio Nuvolari, and now presents with its Reutter coachwork in its period race livery.

One of the rarest Speedsters in existence, and with outstanding competition history, this 4-cam Porsche Speedster is perfect for the world’s greatest events – and as one of the earliest surviving examples will surely be a excellent acquisition for any Carrera afficionado