Tag Archives: 356

Cut Down Turbo Look – Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster

In 1950 US Porsche importer Max Hoffman suggested to the factory that they build a car that could compete with English sports cars, particularly the Jaguar XK120. Porsche’s response was to build what would become the Type 540 that Hoffman dubbed the America Roadster in 1951. In order to be competitive the car was eventually built in aluminium but the cost was so great, US$4600, that only 17 were sold and everyone lost Hoffman, Porsche and the designated coachwork builder Heuer Glaser money, Heuer Glaser lost so much they went bankrupt.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Despite the commercial failure of the Type 540 Hoffman convinced Porsche to have another go at producing something that could compete with the British imports to the USA adding that the cost should be below $3,000. Porsche ended up presenting a stripped down version of the 356 Cabriolet fitted with a removable windscreen for competition, a light weight soft top, for weather protection only, side curtains replaced the side windows and the car was fitted with competition type bucket seats. The Speedster was an instant success despite it’s minimal trim, even the heater was an optional extra to keep the base cost down.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Speedster production continued with model upgrades in 1955 and 1957 until 1958 when the model was replaced by the slightly more opulently appointed Cabriolet D contracted to coach builder Drauz at Heilbronn.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Given the success, at a cost of minimal profit margins, of the 356 Speedster it is perhaps not surprising that Porsche waited a full quarter of a century after the launch of the 911 before introducing a successor to the 356 Speedster in the form of the 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

In 1969 impatient with Porsche to produce a Speedster 911 Porsche enthusiast Stan Townes created a Speedster by cutting the top off a crashed 1967 911 Coupé and fitting a cut down screen as per the original 356 Speedsters. It was not until 2 years after American CEO Peter Schutz had extended the development of the 911 in 1981 that Dr Helmut Bott turned his attention to an official factory built 911 Speedster.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

The first public awareness of the new model came in 1987 when two prototypes appeared with removable windscreens and a number of other features including a Clubsport fiber glass cockpit surround that effectively turned the 911 into a single seat racer complete with roll hoop.

Nothing quite so radical was available when the 217 hp, option M503, 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster went into production from January to July 1989. Two versions of the Speedster were built, 171 with the narrow body and 2,104 with the flared Porsche 930 ‘Turbo Look’ body as seen on today’s featured vehicle which is one of just 139 Speedsters equipped with the steering on the right.

Thanks for joining me on this “Cut Down Turbo Look” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow, when I be looking at one of the most radical street cars and desirable Porsches ever built. Don’t forget to come back now.

PS Some months ago I posted about a blog about a Buick Electra 225 Riviera that was supplied by Deal of Asheville NC.

Deal were taken over by Harmony Motors who operate a VW/Audi/Porsche dealership. Toni Burrell from Harmony has contacted me to let me, and you, know that Harmony are trying to raise $10,000 for the Mission Foundation Ladies Night Out breast cancer screening programme. Harmony are donating $100 for every new Volkswagen sold during October.

So if you are thinking about buying a new Volkswagen and would like to be part of the Mission Foundation Ladies Night Out fund raising drive and your anywhere near Asheville NC you better get your skates on further details can be found on this link.


Nathan D. Muir – Porsche 912

From the outset an entry level Porsche based on the 911 model was planed to be fitted with a four cylinder motor to replace the Porsche 356 when production of the older model ceased in April 1965.

Porsche 912, Bristol

The new model was originally known internally as the 902 but after problems with the 901 model designation with Peugeot the new model was always publicly known as the 912, not to be confused with the Porsche project number 912 which referred to the flat 12 racing motors used to power the Porsche 917 racing cars.

Porsche 912, Bristol

Initial ideas for the 4 cylinder motor to be used in the 912 model included building a four cylinder version of the 6 cylinder 911 motor and an enlarged version of the 4 cylinder motor used in the Porsche 356 but eventually it was decided to lower the compression ratio of the original Porsche 356 motor and fit Solex carburettors of the 1582cc / 96.5 cui motor to produce 90hp.

Porsche 912, Bristol

To keep the costs down some of the standard features of the 911 were deleted from the 912, which outsold the 911 until the 912s production facilities were turned over to the Porsche VW 914-6 for the 1970 model year.

Porsche 912, Bristol

Although not as potent as it’s bigger 130 hp sibling the 912s lighter motor meant the smaller engine car had slightly improved handling which proved useful to Polish Porsche privateer Sobiesław Zasada who won the 1967 European Rally championship in his Porsche 912 which included an outright win in the 1967 Polish Rally.

Porsche 912, Bristol

A Porsche 912 was also entered in the 1967 Spa 24 hours for Hans Finke and Jean Sage, it qualified 33rd but failed to finish after an issue with the oil radiator. In 1968 Swiss duo James Bernard Fortmann and Urs-Peter Dietrich could not get with in 10 seconds of the qualifying time set by Finke and Sage at Spa the previous year but still started the ’68 edition of the Spa 24 hours in 51st and managed to bring their 912 home in 25th place.

Porsche 912, Bristol

Fans of Robert Redford may remember him staring in the 2001 thriller Spy Game, in the film Redford’s character Nathan D. Muir drives a Porsche 912, though it appears to be dubbed with a 911 engine sound except in the alternate ending version on DVD. More on how the 912 came to be chosen for filming on this link.

Porsche 912, Bristol

Regular readers may remember that a couple of years ago I featured a Porsche 912 in need of some TLC, I caught up with the car seen above again at the end of last year.

Porsche 912, Bristol

The transformation from junk yard dog to a 912 Carrera looks cool, officially the car is still listed as having it’s original size 1582cc / 96.5 cui motor.

Thanks for joining me on this Nathan D. Muir edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be featuring a couple of 1966 French Porsche advertisements. Don’t forget to come back now !


Awaiting TLC – Porsche 912

From 1965 to 1969 around 30,000 entry level Porsche 912’s were sold, featuring the body of the then all new Porsche 911 with the 90 horsepower motor from the old Porsche 356.

In 1967 well known Polish Porsche privateer Sobiesław Zasada won the European Rally Championship in his 912 fitted with a factory supplied rally kit.

The 912 was replaced by the 914 allegedly built in a not so harmonious collaboration with Volkswagen from 1970 – 1976.

In 1976 914’s were temporarily replaced in the the Porsche line up by 2099 additional 912 E’s, with 911 G series bodies and 2 litre engines from the ill feted 914/4, built exclusively for the US market until the arrival of the water cooled Porsche 924.

Porsche 912’s are easily recognisable when looking at the engine, they only have 4 cylinders instead of the 6 of the 911.

This particular model was on it’s way to the Porschmode Specialist body shop for some long overdue TLC when I happened on it at the end of last year.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s in need of TLC edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me again tomorrow for a look at one of the most outrageous Porsches ever built by the factory. Don’t forget to come back now !


Under Austrian Influence – Aston Martin DB3S

Under Austrian Influence – Aston Martin DB3S #118

Its a great thrill to return to Ed Arnaudin’s photo’s from 20th July 1958 at Thompson CT thanks to his son Steve.

Today’s vehicle is a thoroughly British Aston Martin DB3S, a lightweight version of the DB3 originally designed by Austrian Robert Eberan von Eberhorst, a pioneer in vehicle dynamics who’s CV includes the design of the Auto Union D-type Silver Arrow, the Porsche project 356, which later became the Porsche 356 like the cabriolet in the background above, and the Jowett Jupiter while working for English Racing Automobiles. The DB3S was powered by a 163 horse power 2922 cc / 182 cui twin over head cam straight 6 fitted with three twin choke carburettors.

The vehicle seen here was driven into 7th place in the 7th race of the day at Thompson CT by Paul Hyatt who was doing double duty having finished last in race 6 driving his DB2-4.

I’d like to thank Ed Arnaudin for his wonderful photographs, Steve Arnaudin for sharing them with us and Terry O’Neil’s Northeast American Sports Car Races 1950-1959 for the stats.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Aston Martin edition of ‘Getting a lil’ psycho’ on tyres’ and that you’ll join me tomorrow for a closer look at a vehicle of the same type as the black one seen in the back ground of the photo above. Don’t forget to come back now !


Thanks to Vince H the DB3S photographed by Ed has been identified as chassis #118 which can be seen being driven here by Chris Salyer at Laguna Seca in 2007.