Bring a Trailer auction preview: 912 power, disc brakes, 741-series transmission, miraculous conversion from coupe!
1959 Porsche 356A
Wayne Williams Metal Shaping Speedster Conversion
Chassis Number – 105326
Engine Number – 831516 (912)
Exterior Color – Black
Interior Color – Black
Engine Type – 1.6-Liter Air-Cooled 4-cylinder (912)
Gearbox – 4-Speed manual transaxle
Current Mileage – 75,381 miles (TMU)
Highlights of this Car
- Converted to Speedster configuration by master automotive metalsmith
- Many specialized features and uniquely crafted aluminum body panels
- 40+ years of ownership still retained by the original builder
Marque and Model History
With its iconic shape and race-bred performance, the lightweight and agile 356 Porsche has been continuously sought after by enthusiasts and collectors drawn to the 356 timeless beauty, elegant engineering, and versatile performance. Though Porsche engineering and technology has evolved over decades of modern iterations, the 356 remains one of the most sought-after Porsches today. And while all 356 models are desirable, the sporty lightweight configuration offered in the Speedster has become the icon of the 356, with original examples reaching record prices in recent years.
History of this Car
Wayne Williams began his career in metal shaping at an early age, learning from a range of experts as he honed his specialized skills. In 1952, Williams established Wayne Williams Metal Shaping in Orange, California, plying his craft on a wide range of cars including hand formed sprint cars and Indy 500 race cars. No stranger to metal forming for Porsches, during his half century of steel and aluminum forming, Williams performed commissioned restorations for an original Porsche Carrera Speedster and a Porsche 550 Spyder. In 1989, motivated by the desire to build and race a Speedster of his own construction, Williams challenged himself to convert his personal Porsche 356 A into a Speedster.
Williams began the project with the goal of making a performance Speedster combining his hand skills and updated performance parts. He removed the roof, doors, and lids from his stock 356A while also carefully removing (but retaining) the original inner door strike panels, the driver's side of which retains the serial number for the car. The steel front storage compartment tub was retained, including the stamped #105326 Porsche chassis plate. Williams then reworked the forward sheet metal and refined and finished the cowl for the Speedster windscreen. The remaining sheet metal body and chassis structure was then carefully evaluated for fitting of new crafted aluminum doors and an aluminum hood. Skilled in both steel and aluminum hand work, Williams molded and hammered the aluminum doors and the front storage compartment lid to precise dimensions. These efforts reduced overall weight, but cleverly retained the structural steel cowl and chassis. The rear steel portion of the car was also refined to achieve the Speedster profile, the engine lid hinges were removed, and the rear of the car and engine lid were louvered for cooling. In addition to these hand formed aluminum features, Williams replaced all steel floor pans and longitudinals and installed a new dashboard reflective of the Speedster design. Wherever possible, Williams crafted these unique aluminum and steel parts using traditional Italian coachbuilding techniques including making Gypsum hammer forming molds taken from original Porsche steel parts to ensure exact aluminum replicas true to the original contours, adjusted for the Speedster look.
Williams enjoyed vintage racing the car in the 1990s, at that time, finished in silver. After vintage racing, Williams used this car for both street and show events, taking it to local events off and on also using it to show potential clients his handiwork for specialized metal crafting and restoration including building aluminum hoods for factory lightweight restorations. Features for this Speedster include a tinted Speedster windshield, Haartz convertible top, Scat seats (recently reupholstered), Carrera 6” aluminum wheels. Wilwood disc brakes, an aluminum dual piston 912 master cylinder, coil over rear shocks, aluminum shock absorbers, front trailing links strengthened by 4130 tubing, an aluminum Fuel-Safe gas tank with internal bladder, and stainless-steel flexible brake hoses, to name just a few of the many details on this build.
The 912 engine was bored to 1725cc, J&E pistons were installed along with a 356C racing crank, Carillo rods, special grind cams with ported and matched heads, and the entire rotating assembly was balanced. Converted to dry sump with a two-gallon reserve, the engine runs an extra oil cooler with double fans, large Solex 40 PII carburetors (built by Paul Christensen), an Oberg oil filter, and tuned headers with central exit exhaust. A set of custom aluminum valve covers are also fitted. Williams selected a 356C transmission and installed close ratio gears First-2B, Second-3E, Thrid-3B, and Fourth-4A.
Today this unique and dynamic Porsche 356A Wayne Williams Metal Shaping Speedster Conversion presents as an imaginative statement of dedicated construction. Although the finishes have gracefully aged over the 30+ years since it was completed, the owner/builder has sorted and refined his initial concept while enjoying the car. The aging black paint displays overall gloss with evidence of road use visible at the lower portion of the front fascia and valence along with typical signs of age. The aluminum and steel body panels show generally good overall gaps and panel fit. The lighting bezels, windshield frame, and door handles are in very good condition including the custom formed aluminum headlight covers, which cover the empty headlight buckets. True to the Speedster aesthetic, there is no side or rear glass. The removable steel engine lid and rear steel portion of the bodywork has been louvered to exhaust warm air, while the underside of the bumper houses a centrally located single exhaust pipe. A set of modified aluminum Carrera wheels are mated to wider polished aluminum rims and wear contemporary 195/60R15 radial tires. Overall, the exterior of this 356A Wayne Williams Metal Shaping Speedster Conversion offers a very satisfying visual presence and hunkered down stance enhanced by the history of hand crafting and dedication to metal forming achieved by the builder and consigning owner.
The interior is all business, having been lightened for performance use. The inner door panels have been removed and covered with aluminum panels. The steel floor is painted satin black, and the dashboard is finished with a combination of Porsche instrumentation and aftermarket gauges. A chrome plated single hoop roll bar is fitted behind the driver’s seat. The low-back bucket seats have been nicely finished in black pleated material, and a convertible top stows behind the seats. Under the aluminum front storage lid, the steel fuel tank has been replaced with a Fuel-Safe aluminum unit which houses a safety bladder. The Porsche stamping plate bears the stamped #105326 consistent with the California title.
The engine compartment is clean, displaying a combination of modern fittings and features specifically selected for the upgraded 912 engine. The underside of the car is consistent with the older build history, displaying evidence of spirited use after the floors and longitudinals were replaced during the late 80s build.
The car starts, stops, and drives with a character indicative of early Porsches. The Porsche 356C close ratio gearbox is set up for vintage racing with a very high first gear suitable for track use and closer ratio 2-4th gears, tuned for full throttle use. This setup is best suited for track use and racing fuel, though the owner recently reduced engine compression to run on premium pump gas, more suitable for road use. The car is licensed and titled using the original donor VIN on the clean California title. In the 30+ years since this Speedster was completed the mechanical features have aged under general use. Though serviceable, the engine and gearbox will require attention to make the car more enjoyable to drive on a regular basis.
A welcome and creative combination of dedication and craftsmanship, this handsomely prepared Porsche 356A Wayne Williams Metal Shaping Speedster Conversion is a unique car ready for the next phase of outlaw development or continued use as is with mechanical freshening.
Included with the car
The car is accompanied by a tonneau cover, the original metal stamping inner door striker plates still retaining the original Reutter body plate and paint color plate, a Wayne Williams metal shaping DVD, a spare set of springs, and copies of various photos from the history of Williams career including a photo of the original donor car.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608