porsche 356 outlaw modified

Bid Deserted: 356 Speedster "Outlaw"


Let's imagine an awards ceremony. Or a movie premiere. Swirling masses along the red carpet waiting for movie stars. Fans comment on the latest news about the fashionable actress. They wait nervous. They do not let go of the camera, hoping to portray a fleeting moment. The one in which the face of the posters appears in the flesh. They are the passions snatched from the Star system. And in motor racing ... It is the same.

We all know the ins and outs of Mercedes 300SL. Who else who has read the least about him? BMW 507 Roadster. And of course many of us have fantasized about the curves of the Porsche 356 Speedster. However, there are not so many people who know the one who hinted at the creation of them: Max hoffman. This North American importer had a seasoned instinct to know what the big market would ask for Yankee in the coming years.

Following their instincts, the contacts did the rest. Well connected with the European manufacturers Hoffman passed the idea to the appropriate offices. Mercedes, BMW, Porsche ... All of these benefited from his sense of smell like Greta Garbo or Clark Gable owed their careers to the watchful eye of Louis B. Mayer. Without him they might never have passed from being aspirants; slipping through neighborhood theaters and low-gloss advertisements.

In the late 40s Hoffman convinced Ferry Porsche to open up to North America. The German was skeptical. He thought that by selling there about 5 vehicles a year he could be satisfied. Hoffman's calculating appetite set other goals: 5, yes, but a week. Achieving it would not be easy, so proposed to create a variant of the 356 specifically designed for young American audiences: the Speedster.

One of the most appreciated Porsche and with the largest number of versions "outlaw”Like the one we bring you to La Escudería today.


To say that Porsche is powered VW is a huge compliment to the Beetle. But the truth is that the first cars of the brand owe a lot to the popular utility. Presented in 1948 the 356 mounted a VW mechanics based on a four cylinder boxer capable of delivering 35CV. So said it seems little, but the light behavior of this model was enough to make it a desired sports car as soon as it was released.

Max Hoffman saw the potential of the 356 in the United States. What would you intuit? Well, we do not know, but most of the hypotheses bet on the value of what is different. Americans were used to huge, quiet cars. Something totally different from 356. Therefore, if someone wanted to go outside the box… And with the permission of the MG pioneers, this European was going to be their choice. And there would be Hoffman to sell it to you!

In 1950 the first 356s were imported into the port of New York. However, the American agent asked the Germans for a new product. A somewhat more affordable car, easily adaptable to racing ... In short, an even lighter and sportier 356 aimed at young audiences with a fondness for competing. This is how the Speedster was born in 1954.


Its windshield was smaller, and it could also be easily removed for racing days. The interior was designed more spartan, the seats more sporty and the final bill did not exceed 3000 dollars. The Speedster conquered young Americans, giving them a raging and light car with engines that evolved from the 55CV to the 110 of the Carrera version.

Being aimed at the type of audience it was intended for… It is easy to understand why there are so many enhanced versions of the Speedster. Each driver and team modified the car as they pleased according to the margins given by the competition regulations. Something that, curiously, Porsche collectors did not look favorably until very recently. The further a Speedster was from its factory layout ... The more vilified it was.

However this has changed. You just have to see the level to which versions like this move "Outlaw" owned by two members of the Toronto 356 Club. It mounts a drilled crankshaft with a new lubrication system and a lighter camshaft. Even if its main change resides in the engine, dispensing with the original to mount a 1600cc taken from a 356C after 1965. It produces about 100CV, more than enough to move the 816 kilos of this Canadian “outlaw” Speedster.

Last April RM Sotheby's put it up for auction and the bid was deserted. Things that happen in business ... Not everyone can always go up. We like it, do you? 😉

What do you think?

Miguel Sánchez

Written by Miguel Sánchez

Through the news from La Escudería, we will travel the winding roads of Maranello listening to the roar of the Italian V12; We will travel Route66 in search of the power of the great American engines; we will get lost in the narrow English lanes tracking the elegance of their sports cars; We will speed up the braking in the curves of the Monte Carlo Rally and we will even get dusty in a garage while rescuing lost jewels.


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