At the request of U.S. Porsche importer Max Hoffman, Porsche designed a stripped-down, lightweight 356 to cater to American drivers and boost the brand’s reputation in SCCA racing. The result was the 1954 Speedster, exceeding Hoffman’s expectations. This no-frills, topless Speedster proved itself on both the racetrack and the showroom floor, leading to the introduction of the more comfortable 356A Convertible D.
In 1960, with the launch of the 356B (T-5 generation), the Speedster evolved into the Roadster. The Roadster offered enhanced comfort, roll-up windows, and a more secure top while maintaining its sporty character. The detachable windshield allowed for improved aerodynamics on the track, and the final Roadsters, produced in 1961, featured bodies by d’Ieteren Freres in Belgium.
The 356B Roadster by d’Ieteren Freres is highly sought after among early Porsches due to its superior driving experience, increased comfort compared to earlier Speedsters, better looks than a Cabriolet, and improved steering and transaxle.