build date: 21st November 1957
chassis number: 84145
original colour: Metallic Silver (originally Ruby Red)
- sought after 1958 Type 2 specification
- restored and personally owned by John Willhoit
- engine and gearbox upgraded with period parts
- southern California car with all original body panels
- perfect condition
Porsche Speedsters are special cars. Porsche 356s restored by John Willhoit are regarded as being among the best in the world. This 356 Speedster was restored by John for his own personal use and must rank as one of the finest for sale anywhere today.
The 356 Speedster was originally introduced by Porsche in 1954 after encouragement from Max Hoffman, their US importer, to produce a cheaper, simpler model. The resulting car was lighter and more dynamic to drive and is now regarded by many as a 20th Century design classic.
The final year of production was in 1958 and these “Type 2” Speedsters are highly sought after. They benefitted from a number of improvements to the gearbox, clutch and steering which made them easier and more pleasant to drive.
This car is a 1958 model year Type 2 Speedster built in November 1957. It was sold new at Competition Motors in Hollywood, California. The identity of the first owner is not known but the second owner John Delong, of Santa Monica, California, kept the car for 22 years before selling it to John Willhoit in 1987. Willhoit is one of the world’s leading restorers of early Porsches and the car was in such good condition that he decided to restore it for himself.
The body was taken back to bare metal and then hand-finished in the period factory fashion before painting in period correct silver rather than the car’s original ruby red. The interior was retrimmed in deep red leather. The Speedster had lost its original engine and gearbox early in its life so Willhoit sourced correct 1958 replacements and proceeded to upgrade them with many rare period correct parts, including big valve cylinder heads, larger Zenith 36NDIX carburettors, Elgin 280 camshaft, close ratio CBAA gearset, 60mm Carrera front brakes, polished Carrera axles and Abarth peashooter exhaust. Willhoit estimates the car to have 95hp and having driven it we’d say this is conservative. He also added Carello driving lights, an RSK “Golden Lady” steering wheel and aluminium GT seats.
Willhoit showed the car at a number of Porsche events in California before selling it in 1996 to one of his customers. It was driven very little and had less than 1,500 miles on it since the restoration when it was sold in 2002 to Graham Pattle in Essex, UK. The car was sold to the current owner in 2016.