Porsche commemorates 70th anniversary of the 356 America Roadster
Return to News

Porsche commemorates 70th anniversary of the 356 America Roadster

By GoAuto - 20 July 2022


BACK in 1953, Porsche USA imported 19, US-only, 356 America Roadsters in “bare bones” specification to assess the market for the 356 Speedster.

The little America Roadster was bereft of most creature comforts with carpet, seat belts, wipers, side mirrors, exterior door handles and indicators all deleted. Even the rudimentary windscreen was optional.

It was “the automobile distilled” a bugs-in-your-teeth car designed to provide a certain level of raw driving pleasure that only a precisely engineered, lightweight, finely focussed car like this can deliver.

The spartan all-aluminium body shell housed a 70hp (51kW) air-cooled four-cylinder rear engine driving the rear wheels through a four-speed manual gearbox.

Today, only 11 original 356 America Roadsters survive with some valued up to $US5.0 million.

Only 11 original 356 Americas survive with some valued up to $US 5.0 million.

Porsche has one in its Stuttgart museum that occasionally sees the light of a “track day”... that’s after they send in a technician to tickle the car into life, cajoling the cantankerous twin Solex carburettors to function in unison and getting the transmission up to heat so it shifts properly.

It’s a long way to what we have today…

In tribute to that tiny and revered sports car comes a new, 2022 Porsche 70th Anniversary 911 Carrera GTS America cabriolet that we will unfortunately not be getting Down Under.

The new America Edition is based on the current 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet, with identical powertrain and chassis, but is denoted by striking styling changes.

It is pitched as a contemporary take on the original 1953 car and if you close one eye and squint you can possibly see the link. They do share the same brand and both have drop tops.

The tribute 911 America was devised by Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, the premium German car-markers customisation division. They chose singular paint, dedicated wheels and various other design details.

The one off Azureblue356 paint code was inspired by the original America Roadster

The one off Azureblue356 paint code was inspired by the original America Roadster but benefits from modern chemistry that makes it appear brighter, sharper, accentuated by various white and red highlights.

Custom RS Spyder Design wheels are finished in a combination of white, silver, and red, complementing the white and red stripe decals running the length of the side skirts.

The striking colour combination is carried through into the cabin, with red stitching and light grey accents and buyers can select the optional extended interior package taking the colour theme even further.

With side decal branding declaring “America Edition 911”and the word America branded into the leather seat upholstery there’s no hiding what it is.

Like its America Roadster forebears, from the 356 to the 964, the latest America Edition stays true to its driver-focused heritage, offered with only rear-wheel-drive and seven-speed manual ‘box.

The new America edition is based on the current 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet.

The pared-back approach matches the thinking of Max Hoffman, the man behind the first Porsches to be imported to the US. His idea to remove all but the essentials from the Porsche 356 is still a winning combination.

“Passion for driving a Porsche runs deep in the United States. In particular, there is something special about hitting the road in an open-top 911 with a manual transmission that fits perfectly here,” said Porsche Cars North America president and CEO Kjell Gruner.

“This is also the perfect time to add another ‘America’ model to our story as we look back on 70 years since the 356 America Roadster and 30 years since the 964 America Roadster.”

The latest America edition features the same twin-turbo, 3.0-litre, flat-six as the new 911 Carrera GTS, producing a substantial 353kW and 570Nm driving through a seven-speed manual ‘box forcing buyers to embrace good old three-pedal driving.

The twin-turbo, 3.0-litre, flat-six produces a substantial 353kW and 570Nm.

While the latest America edition offers the same top-down, wind-in-your-face, manual-only driving experience, it’s got just a bit more punch than the original 356 America Roadster’s 70hp (51kW).

Standard features include the same Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) the “ordinary” GTS gets, as well as a sports exhaust and sport chrono package.

The standard but still enormous 408mm/six-piston front and 380mm/four-piston rear brakes can be upgraded to ceramic composite units, but you’ll need to tick the options box for that.

Porsche’s insistence on a manual gearbox and rear-wheel-drive for this superbly styled commemorative model reminds us that the car-maker gets what it takes to make a true driver’s car.

The America edition is one of the most exclusive 992 models.

Due in showrooms later this year as part of the MY23 911 range the America Edition will start at $US186,370 ($A267,058) but, with only 115 on offer, buyers will need to be quick.

Protect your Classic. Call Shannons Insurance on 13 46 46 to get a quote today.