Daniel Arsham Spent 3 Years Crafting This One-Off 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster

Photos: Porsche

Born in Cleveland and raised in Miami, Daniel Arsham is a world-renowned artist best known for his “eroded” sculptures. And after previously joining forces with Porsche to deliver two separate official projects, the Ohio native has now pulled the cover off of his third joint effort with the Zuffenhausen-based sports car marque, this time churning out a custom Porsche 356 inspired by traditional Japanese culture, constructions, and craftsmanship.

Known as the “356 Bonsai,” the one-of-one build is based on a 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster and pays homage to and embraces the notion of wabi-sabi — a Japanese philosophy of embracing the beauty in imperfections and wear and tear. Built over the course of two years, the 356 wears an original set of bodywork that’s been stripped down to the metal, putting its welds and pit marks on full display. Despite its weathered appearance, however, the 356 Bonsai is in tip-top mechanical shape, having recently been treated to an extensive restoration courtesy of Willhoit Auto Restoration and the Bridgehampton Motoring Club.

Designed in collaboration with Japanese fashion designers Motofumi ‘Poggy’ Kogi and Yutaka Fujihara, the interior of the car has been trimmed in a variety of traditional Japanese fabrics and textiles including indigo-dyed boro patchwork and selvage denim. Indigo-dyed cotton fabric complemented via sashiko-stitched lines also now adorns the door trim and seat edges while the roof has also been upholstered in distressed Japanese denim. A plethora of original, worn components has also been used on the build, including a vintage license plate and factory headlight covers. The Porsche’s rear decklid has also been decorated via a patinated bronze relief in the shape of a Bonsai tree. What’s more, the trunk of the car also now houses a Japanese tatami mat made from rice straw — another blatant nod to Japanese culture and architecture.

Daniel Arsham’s 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster-based 356 Bonsai project will go on display in Tokyo in the year’s final months.

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Photo: Porsche
Photo: Porsche
Photo: Porsche