Porsche’s first production car, the 356, designed by Erwin Komenda and initially made in Gmünd, Austria, would spearhead the German brand’s legendary status for building driver-oriented sports cars. In production from 1948 to 1965, the Porsche 356 was available in both coupe and convertible forms. Of the 76,000 356s assembled, only about half have survived.
Porsche Santa Clarita, a dealership of the Galpin Motors network, recently acquired a 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster and restored it to perfection in order to enter it in the 2021 Porsche Restoration Challenge. The Porsche dealer envisioned how Galpin would build the 356 during the 1950s in a period-correct restoration it calls “Galpanized.”
This Porsche 356 Speedster, built on July 29, 1955, came to America through the notable importer Max Hoffman of New York. Upon reaching our shores, the 356 shipped to California, where it’s spent its entire life. Despite its years, this 356 only had two previous owners prior to Galpin’s purchase of it. Notably, the second owner held the title to the car for nearly 50 years. This individual also did some subtle modifications to make this 356 just a wee bit faster and safer on the track, upgrading the engine, adding a roll bar, and fitting a louvered decklid.
Galpin’s president and chief operating officer, Beau Boeckmann, oversaw the restoration, and although the 356 could not return to its original state, Boeckmann strived for period-correct customization. When acquired, the car was actually in pretty good condition. Still, it needed some love and care.
Porsche Santa Clarita carried out all the mechanical work, including upgrading the 1600SC’s air-cooled flat-four engine and 519 transaxle. The dealer also added chrome components to the engine as a finishing touch. Meanwhile, the heads, exhaust system, brakes, and suspension bits are all factory Porsche pieces.
Galpin Speed Shop took care of the bodywork and paint with assistance from Galpin Auto Sports. Exterior modifications include the likes of shaved rocker moldings, rear reflectors, and filled and smoothed chrome bumpers.
The gorgeous rear-drive drop top, featuring coachwork by Reutter Karosserie, wears a newly created coat of blue-green custom paint from PPG. Boeckmann steered away from metallic hues or anything too flashy. A set of 1960 magnesium Halibrand knock-off wheels finished in House of Kolor gold with a Matte Klear topcoat (15 inchers up front and 16s in the rear) complete the look.
The stunning interior features red leather upholstery and carpeting accentuated by tartan inserts on the bucket seats. Both classic and vibrant, the elegant plaid material extends to the door trim panels. What’s more, the dashboard is finished in the custom PPG blue-green paint to match the exterior and has factory Porsche gauges.
No doubt, this period-correct 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster is a ride to the days when things often seemed simpler
Photography courtesy of Kahn Media
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