Featured: Driving A Perfectly Tuned Speedster Is One Of Life’s Great Pleasures

Driving A Perfectly Tuned Speedster Is One Of Life’s Great Pleasures

By Ted Gushue
February 16, 2016

Photography by Ted Gushue

One of the greatest perks of living in Southern California is that every once in a while you brush up against some incredibly lovely people who happen to drive exceptional cars. Even less frequently, however, you meet people like this who don’t hesitate to toss you the keys to said cars, encouraging you to bomb a few canyons in Malibu on a spotless, sunny, Monday morning.

This was one of those times.

Friends of Petrolicious Elizabeth White and Andrew Zalasin have amassed an impressive car collection that they keep at the ready to be driven properly. These aren’t prissy showcars, these are meticulously maintained driving machines. I’ll let Elizabeth explain exactly how they achieved this with their Speedster—but it’s safe to say that this isn’t your average upside-down bathtub. This is what Elizabeth says about the car:

Our 1957 Porsche Speedster 1600 was delivered originally to a California enthusiast who, in addition to using it as a daily driver, raced the Speedster—till bar and all—since new in competitive events throughout the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.

In the 2000s, the Speedster was brought back to life by CB Restorations in Massachusetts, whose principal, Carl Brown, had decades of experience restoring classics with Paul Russell & Co., and had gained a reputation for high-quality restorations that were frequent winners at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Speedster, which carries all-original sheet metal, was treated to fresh paint, with the rest of the car carefully and sympathetically gone over. Everything was checked, with suspension bushings, and other wear and tear items disassembled, cleaned, and replaced as necessary. The leather Speedster buckets and interior were refreshed as well.

Over the years, we added various features—none of which necessitated drilling or mounting in a way that would not allow the Speedster to be returned to original. These include a custom leather-wrapped Valentine 1 mounted to specially patina’d hardware to match seamlessly with the interior that surrounds it. In addition, we removed the original engine for safekeeping, as well as various suspension and driveline components. 356C discs were mounted at all four corners, and legendary East Coast period engine builder Jerry McCarthy rebuilt the date-coded engine. For safety’s sake (we drive at night), we also replaced (again, without drilling or other changes) the headlights and associated systems to accommodate HIDs. The suspension has been tuned and dialed in to enable us to carve up the canyons with scalpel-like precision, leaving many newer cars scratching their heads.

After several years of use and enjoyment with an average of 4-6,000 miles driven per year, including a run from Reno to Monterey last summer, we brought the Speedster to HG Motorsports, where Dieter and his team went through every component and system to make our Speedster the best it can be. We’re very fortunate to own and drive our Speedster—and look forward to many more decades of enjoyment.

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Sifu Alex
Sifu Alex(@sifu-alex)
3 years ago

It’s truly a moving work of art, a kinetic sculpture that is pure grace in motion. I wish I could hear the engine as well. I hope they do a film of this magnificent machine. One question, why does it have NY plates and registration? Did they drive across country?

Antoine Beck
Antoine Beck(@nostress-noinfest)
5 years ago

Really nice article ! How amazing it must be to drive the Speedster on a bright sunny day, while overlooking the Pacific ocean… Surely an unforgettable experience.
What’s so cool about this car is how much it is driven, the owners really don’t hesitate one second about taking it out for a spin, they truly want to enjoy every moment of their ownership – as they do with their other cars – and that’s fantastic, especially with such a classic !

Jo Kingman
Jo Kingman(@just-jo26)
5 years ago

Great article!
I’m very fortunate that I’ve also experienced these guys chucking me the keys to some cars too.
It’s incredible how much passion they have for cars and how enthusiastic they are, but to also want to let others enjoy them is just amazing.
Great read 🙂

Roger Tein-On Chan
Roger Tein-On Chan(@rogerteinonchanpriv)
5 years ago

These guys really do love their cars and hats off to them. Not many people have the gumption to drive their cars like they do. What’s more admirable is that they drive their speedster regularly and it’s meticulously maintained to the highest standard. Obviously I’ve never seen the car but from the photos it looks rather impressive. There’s clearly been a great thought process when considering alterations to the car as well. Other owners of highly acclaimed vehicles need to take note because these guys are doing it right! Great article.

Ben Cohen
Ben Cohen(@bassmanspiff2514)
5 years ago

This is an incredible article about the beautiful ItsWhiteNoise Porsche Speedster!!! You guy 1,000,000\% NEED to make a video with this car, the ItsWhiteNoise GT3RS, the ItsWhiteNoise Cayman GT4, and the ItsWhiteNoise Boxter Spyder!

Linda N Brian Schick
Linda N Brian Schick(@sparkey60)
5 years ago

A 4-wheeled orgasm!

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago

A brilliant and sensitively done very mild resto -mod for the sake of drivability with all the original bits intact and stored away should a moment of pedantic numbers matching mania overcome the owners or be needed when the time comes to sell this little beauty .

Now … if only there was a video to go with this article