The 356A (T2) Speedster
September 1957 to August 1958
(Carrerra Speedsters continued into 1959)
The last of the 356A Speedsters are probably the most attractive and the most desirable. The 356A (T2) Speedster was introduced in September 1957 and continued until the basic Speedster was replaced by the Convertible D in August 1958 although a number of Carrera, GS and GT Speedsters were produced in 1959.
There were no substantial changes to the T2 engine apart from minor improvements. It became more easy to tell the difference between the 1600 N and 1600 Super engines with the Normal engine’s fan shroud being painted black and the Super’s was painted silver.
Later in 1958 a new 716 gearbox replaced the 644. It was basically similar to the old one but had an improved gear change linkage with a more direct feel. First gear beacame easier to engage from rest.
The rear of the external door handle was changed slightly with a more rounded profile for the T2 handle compared with the square profile seen on the Pre-A and T1 handles.
The interior door handle was moved forward and higher up towards the top front corner of the door, and the gear change lever was moved back slightly. The steering wheel was available in 425mm diameter and had a circular horn ring, while the centre button became a headlight flasher.
The door striker plate was also moved down towards the middle of the door. The doors of the T1 and T2 are not interchangeable and the position of the striker plate is a good way of telling a T2 from a T1. The T2 plate as seen on the left was fixed with 3 cross-head screws, while the T1 plate was mounted with 5 slot-head screws.
The T2 exhaust exited through the rear bumper guards (except on Carreras) to improve ground clearance. Where there are no bumper guards in place, the ends of the exhaust pipes pass through a notch in the bumper.
T2s were fitted with the high bow folding top which gave more head clarance and allowed the factory fitted roll bar to be used.
A new chrome plated hub cap with a raised centre area carrying an enamelled Porsche crest wast standard on the 1600 Super and was often selected as an option on ‘Normal’ models.
Almost all Speedsters built were LHD, but a few RHD models were produced for the UK, South African and Australian markets.
During 1958 Speedster sales had started to decline although it was still popular in the hot, dry climate of California and with amateur races. The American market looked for more comfort and as the Speedster was not profitable, Porsche looked to produce a car that maintained the body style of the Speedster but offered better comfort in less clement climates.