This isn't technically a Speedster, but the Type 540 (Typ 540 K/9-1 to be very precise) - known more commonly as the America Roadster - started the idea. The American Roadster was the direct predecessor of the Speedster. U.S. importer Max Hoffman convinced Porsche it needed a lightweight convertible to compete. It only had an emergency folding roof and could keep up with larger sports cars of the era. But the production methods used to create the America Roadster’s aluminum body proved to be too expensive, and in 1952 Porsche built only 21 units before its discontinuation in 1953.
Ferry Porsche had in fact requested Swiss technicians to make a less sporty and more elegant version of the 365 B and thus the 1600 Beutler Coupè was born. This project is a 2+2 based on a Porsche 1600. Like the Porsche, the car is built on a VW platform, but includes Porsche elements such as the brakes and the engine. It was built in 5 copies before production was stopped in 1957 due to a change in commercial strategies by the German company.
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).