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The 1952 Porsche America Roadster

A Midget in Ten League Boots

The day before I was to leave for the Highlands Motoring Festival (Highlands, North Carolina), in 2022, I got a call from Mark Chmar, the co-chairman of the event. He wanted to know if I could be there by 8:00am the following morning. There was a drive sponsored by Porsche and several of the drivers needed a navigator. It would mean leaving well before dawn, but I said I could be there. He then asked me if I wanted to ride in comfort in a new car or be windblown in an older Porsche. I laughed and said, “put me in an old one.” That’s when he told me it would be a Porsche America Roadster – the last one of only seventeen ever built, and the only one built of steel. Personally, I think the American Roadster is the prettiest 356 ever built, and I had long wanted to profile one for this magazine. I was ecstatic. 

Despite having to deal with a long detour, thanks to an accident that blocked US-64 through the Ocoee River Gorge, I made it in time and met Chip Perry, the owner of the America Roadster. Perry is a very interesting guy with, as it turned out, a nice collection of Porsches, VWs, and even a variety of British cars. The epitome of his collection must be his America Roadster. More about Perry in a bit, but first how did this pretty roadster came to be.

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