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Porsche Speedster Type 356A (o) The Porsche Speedster has become one of the most highly collectible sport cars today, and in today’s market could bring as much a $300,000 or more. Production for the Porsche Speedster began in 1954 after Max Hoffman, the sole US importer of Porsche's, advised Porsche that a lower-cost convertible could sell well in the American Market. Based off of the 1948 Porsche Number 1, Type 356, it was the very first Speedster certified for driving on the street. The body of the first Speedster was designed by Erwin Komenda. Erwin worked for Ferdinand Porsche as their designer. This new Porsche design was a design that truly impressed not only European sport car connoisseurs, but also impressed those in the United States. The new Porsche design was very smooth, refined, lightweight, and sexy. One of the most distinguishing features of the Porsche Speedster besides looking like a bathtub on wheels, is its short windshield. This helps prevent less drag as the car moves forward as well as a adding a sporty look. The seats in the Speedster has a clean look with just simple buckets with fixed backrests. The dash has just the bare necessities such as a speedometer, odometer, tachometer, and temperature gauge. During the early years, the Porsche Speedster and the Volkswagen Beetle shared similar components like the chassis, suspension, and drive train. Porsche went away from sharing parts with Volkswagen, because they wanted to focus on performance. This is also why the displacement of the engine started increasing. The 1948 Porsche Number 1, type 356, has a air-cooled flat-4 cylinder engine. Displacement is 1131 cc. After 1948, the engine was moved behind the rear axle to compensate for two additional seats and therefore also reduced production costs. One of the most popular years to collect is the 1955 Porsche Speedster. James Dean purchased a 1955 Porsche Speedster brand new and set it as an American icon. He later sold it for a 1955 Porsche Spyder. By 1955, the Porsche Speedster had a 1600 cc engine with a 4-speed synchromesh transmission. It was the first production Porsche that reached a top speed of 100 MPH! There was also a new body designation due to new details in the body. It was now called the Porsche Speedster 356A.
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