Zagato Classic has recreated their first-ever Porsche project here: a 356 Speedster that was lightened and made quicker for a racing customer in Paris. The tailfins are particularly delightful as functional and style-enhancing elements, as is the lower and lighter windshield.
If you are thinking: hey, this Zagato 356 Speedster actually looks much more like the 550 Spyder — you are correct. The commission of a new aluminum body for the steel-skinned 356 meant Zagato could make the car as streamlined as Porsche’s most-successful racer ever (at the time): the 550.
Shown below on the grass, you can see the 550 has a clamshell rear bonnet while the 356 Zagato does not.
Only a few dozen alloy-bodied 550 Spyder’s were ever build by the Porsche works team, and could not be bought freely. The elaborate lengths one owner went to create his own Porsche-beating Porsche… with Zagato’s help… shows just how special the car was.
We can see the original 356 Zagato Speedster here lined up beside a Ferrari that has already smashed up its nose during the 1958 Tour de France at Reims.
Porsche 356 Speedster
Porsche 550 Spyder
1958 Porsche 356 Carrera Zagato Speedster
Porsche Carrera Zagato Speedster
Milan, December 2012. The Porsche Carrera Zagato Speedster is the last project presented by the Milanese Atelier under the Zagato Classic program, which aims to bring back to life special Zagato one-off models. These cars, today lost, were characterized by a very significant design and represent a milestone in the history of the brand.
It was committed by American classic cars collector and Porsche pilot Herb Wetanson. He shares his great passion for classic racing cars with his wife Olga, who already committed a Lancia Aprilia Sport from the Zagato Sanction II program.
The first Porsche Zagato
The original Porsche Carrera Zagato Speedster, the first Zagato bodied Porsche of the brand’s history, was built in 1958 for French gentleman driver and expert Porsche pilot Claude Storez, one of the best French pilots of that time.
He started his career in early 50s and became soon a skilled pilot. In late ’57 he was looking for the “ultimate” 356 for the 1958 races season. He put an order to Porsche AG for a 356 A Speedster (the lightest version available) with a Carrera engine and GS specs (the most powerful at that time). Despite his car was very fast, he needed a even lighter and aerodynamic body shape to achieve maximum performance.
For this reason he approached Zagato, whose fame he came to know and appreciated a lot during his attendance at the Mille Miglia in mid 50s.
Since the 20s Zagato was acclaimed as the leading Italian coachbuilding company for sport and race bodies. Storez asked the Milanese Atelier a light aluminium body for his Porsche 356 Speedster Carrera.
The Storez 356’s rolling chassis was taken from Zuffenhausen plant to Milan, where the body was assembled in the late August ‘58. At the end of the month it was sent back to Porsche headquarter for the engine to be installed.
Zagato technicians created a sport spider 2 seats body, very light and smooth. Its volumes paid homage to the 1953 550 RS and the 1957 718 RSK but it also anticipated RS60, RS61 and 356 Carrera Abarth GTL (bodied by Zagato) body style.
Starting from late summer Storez attended many competitions in France with successful results. But the its career was suddenly stopped on February 7th 1959 due to an accident. The car was wrecked and vanished.
As the original car no longer exists. Zagato Classic team started reconstructing the forms of the Porsche Carrera Zagato Speedster by tracing its history. Official historical literature was fundamental.
For a perfect result, aiming to the same body realized by Zagato in 1958, the company coupled state of the art technology in reverse engineering and photometric control with the great value of handcrafted body panels. These have been hand crafted by master panel beaters, working on a solid, machined buck form, obtained by the milling machine.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.