Galpin dealership Porsche Santa Clarita made it better than new.
Porsche has been looking to the future as the age of electrification changes everything in the auto industry, but the automaker has a great habit of looking to the past too. Cars like the 911 Sport Classic are the ultimate in Porsche retro style, channeling the cues that make the earliest Porsche models unbeatably cool and classy. One such early Porsche vehicle is the 356 Speedster, and the fact that James Dean had one only makes it cooler (tragic crash in a 550 aside). Porsche still makes a Speedster these days, and it's not bad at all, but nothing compares to the original, especially when a Porsche dealer restores it to the level you see below.
The 1955 356 Speedster you see here was recently restored by Porsche Santa Clarita, a Galpin Motors dealer, as part of the 2021 Porsche Restoration Challenge, but that doesn't mean that everything was returned to its original spec.
The dealer bought the car from its second owner who had modified it for racing during his 50 years of ownership, so when Galpin President Beau Boeckmann began the project, he decided to fully restore the car with period-correct modifications, "imagining the 356 as if it had been "Galpinized" when new." All the mechanical parts were restored in-house with the help of technician Nicolas Briseno, while the body and paint work was carried out by Dace Shuten of Galpin Speed Shop. The remaining work (presumably the interior and other small details) was carried out by Galpin Auto Sports, and what a load of work there is.
The body of the car was smoothed over with shaved rocker moldings and rear reflectors, smoothed and chromed bumpers, and a louvered decklid for the air-cooled engine. That engine is an upgraded 1600SC flat-four pushrod engine and features chromed accents. A 519 transaxle was added too. Once complete, the body was painted in a custom Blue-Green from PPG while 1960 magnesium Halibrand knock-off wheels were painted in House of Kolor gold with a matte clear finish. Inside the car, red leather with tartan inserts are contrasted by a blue-green trim matching that of the body.
The Porsche Restoration Challenge has just ended, and finalists are being picked before an overall winner will be announced next month. We wouldn't be surprised to see this one in the top few choices.