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Porsche Speedster Typ 540 Quintessential Sports Car Hardcover – 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Big Lake Media Inc (2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974646806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974646800
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 10.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,091,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lee Raskin is an internationally recognized expert on James Dean and his motorsports exploits. Lee is the author of the acclaimed photographic biography, JAMES DEAN AT SPEED, and PORSCHE SPEEDSTER TYP 540: QUINTESSENTIAL SPORTS CAR.

Lee is best known as an early Porsche historian and authority on James Dean's brief but spectacular Porsche racing career. He often is asked to consult with authors and video producers regarding James Dean's motorsports activities and the mysterious disappearance of his "Little Bastard" 550 Spyder following Dean's death in 1955.

Lee wrote his first James Dean article in 1977 for the 356 Registry magazine, and has since been credited with having documented many intrinsic James Dean and Porsche-related facts that have appeared in feature articles for the 356 Registry, Porsche Panorama, Excellence Magazine, Porsche Patter, der Vorganger, The Baltimore Concours d'Elegance, We Remember Dean International Fan Club, the Watkins Glen "Double Fifty" Porsche 50th Anniversary Race Program, and numerous Porsche publications.

Lee has consulted for and/or appeared in major TV documentaries and online about James Dean and Porsche racing cars:

CNBC Online The Ten Most Desirable Porsches (2012)

The History Channel Brad Meltzer's Decoded/Porsche mini series (2011)

CNBC Online The Ten Most Desirable Porsches (2011)

National Geographic Channel Crash Science: James Dean's Death (2005)

German Public Television James Dean: mit Vollgas durchs Leban (2005)

SPEEDTV Behind the Headlights: James Dean (2004)

ABC-TV Special America's Best Kept Secrets (1991)

SPEEDTV Lee co-produced and appeared in the acclaimed documentary James Dean at High Speed (1997). It was later syndicated in Britain, France. Australia, and Japan.

In addition, he co-authored the acclaimed publication, Porsche Speedster TYP 540: Quintessential Sports Car (2004), in which he wrote about various celebrities who owned or were fans of the Porsche Speedster, including James Dean, Steve McQueen, Richard Boone (Paladin...Have Gun Will Travel); renowned maestro Herbert von Karajan; and Paul Newman in his role as a private detective in the movie Harper.

Over the past four decades, Lee has been actively involved as a spectator, a motorsports journalist and photographer, and crew member for National SCCA and IMSA Driving Champion Bruce "King Carrera" Jennings. Lee continues to compete as a vintage Porsche race driver.

Since 1985, he has raced his 356 Porsche Speedster, 356 Porsche Sebring replica coupe, Arnolt- Bristol Roadster, and a pre-war flat-rad 4/4 Morgan on many of the most famous U.S. road courses, including Watkins Glen, Lime Rock, Bridgehampton, Pocono, VIR, Road Atlanta, Roebling Road, Sebring, Daytona, and Laguna Seca; as well as on the vintage street circuits at Pittsburgh's Schenley Park, and Philadelphia's Fairmount Park.

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Dean's death, Lee paid tribute to this great actor and promising sports car racer with his new and exciting photographic biography, James Dean: At Speed.

See video of Jay Leno interviewing Lee Raskin about James Dean At Speed:

For 2015, Lee has just published a new biography on James Dean through Stance & Speed Publishers, which commemorates the 60th Anniversary of his death on September 30, 2015. He worked closely with the James Dean family, Dean's friends and fellow racers on this exciting photo-narrative biography. James Dean: On The Road to Salinas debuted in Fairmount, IN for the 40th Annual James Dean Festival to a huge crowd of 'Deaners.' On The Road To the most definitive James Dean biography published -- covering the sixteen months that James Dean resided in Southern California while making three films for Warner Bros. His last day, 9-30-55 is detailed hour by hour, and minute by minute through the fatal accident; with a complete Epilogue covering 60 years since.

Lee Raskin resides near Brooklandville, Maryland, just a stone's throw north of historic Baltimore. Lee can be contacted by email at:

Lee is also on social media forums...Facebook and Twitter. (Lee Raskin, Baltimore, MD)

Lee can be also be contacted by snail mail at: Lee Raskin, P.O. Box 60, Brooklandville, MD 21022

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jon Warshawsky on November 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From its technical sounding title, Porsche Speedster Type 540: Quintessential Sports Car, you would assume this is going to be a slog through the archives of a bunch of 1950s German engineers. And it does get into the minutiae. But it serves all of this technical nutrition with a good flavoring of context and history, and that makes it an enjoyable read and a useful reference. This ends up feeling like a good blend, because while German cars have always been about extreme competence and performance attained through science and math, the Speedster - and perhaps its contemporary, the Mercedes Benz 300SL - brings with it an iconic stature, and a lot of the glamour and Hollywood aura of the 1950s. It's a romantic little car almost despite its origins, and it's hard to overstate its importance in introducing upscale foreign cars to the United States at a time when Americans were probably ready to contemplate anything other than Germany or Germans.

The book is more of a series of collected essays than a progression of chapters, with six coauthors and another who wrote the introduction. The best way to give you a sense of the book is to describe these sections:

Preface, by Steve Heinrichs: I know, who cares, the Preface... but the author does a good job in two pages of summing up why these cars are still so relevant: "The automotive world has profited greatly from the new technology, but... not all the changes in the automobile have been for the best. Gone for the most part is the special, earthy tactile connection between driver and car." The tone isn't one of the Speedster as sterile historical artifact, but as a sort of time traveler that may be as relevant today as it was in 1954.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Will S. Randall on November 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lots of detail if you want to research a Porsche Speedster. I found out numerous things about my car that I did not know. Well done, but specific for Speedsters.
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By Practical Paul on April 4, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book. This is not written by an author who writes books about all kind of car, like some do. This is written by a Porsche 540 enthusiast, which you feel on every page. As a long time Porsche fan, love the book.
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By Mike Houx on August 20, 2015
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