Porsche previews 911 Speedster 500hp GT3 engine powers open-top special. Will it or won’t it be built? Porsche’s 70th Birthday present to itself is a 911 Speedster. Based on the Carrera 4 Cabrio bodyshell and with the GT3’s 4-litre, 500bhp flat-six, it appears to be very well developed, for a prototype, and near production ready.
Porsche’s 70th Anniversary Speedster unveiled
This is Porsche’s 70th birthday present to itself, the new 911 Speedster Concept. Powered by the latest GT3’s 500hp engine and clothed in a widebody shell derived from the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, Porsche says the concept offers a glimpse of a potential series-production version.
Officially, no decision has been made regarding the possible production car. But test mules of the Speedster have been captured by spy photographers in recent months, so a launch later this year or in early 2019 looks likely. But what, exactly, defines this new Speedster Concept?
Along with that 4.0-litre, 9000rpm flat six, the Speedster’s key feature is its shortened, more sharply raked windscreen. Similar to or, indeed, perhaps exactly the same as that on the 718 Boxster, the screen sets the template for the rest of the car. That starts with shorter side windows with a rounded edge. Move further back and you’ll find the signature double-bubble rear cover, a feature of 911 Speedsters since 1988, obscuring a new roll-over protection structure. Two contrasting black slats between the ‘humps’ add an aerodynamic touch, while the transparent Plexiglas wind deflector features an engraved ‘70 years of Porsche’ logo.
For the concept, Porsche has opted for a lightweight tonneau cover to protect the cabin from the elements when the car is parked, instead of a full convertible top. However, it’s thought the production version will come with some kind of folding roof. Weight reduction abounds, including carbon-fibre front wings and bonnet. The lightweight principles of the Speedster also apply in the interior, from which the navigation, radio and air conditioning systems have all been unceremoniously defenestrated. The bucket seats, meanwhile, are carbon-fibre and the light brown Aniline leather seat covers and detailing recall the 911 Speedster’s earliest progenitors.
The paintwork in the traditional colours of GT Silver and White harks back to Porsche’s early racing cars – as do many of the other details, such as the ’50s-style central fuel tank cap positioned in the middle of the front bonnet, the classic Talbot shape of the exterior mirrors or the unique design of the main headlights. As for the chassis, that’s largely taken from the GT3. The exceptions are the huge 21-inch centre-lock Fuchs alloys. For the record, the Concept has been equipped with Porsche’s six-speed manual transmission.
Porsche says the Concept’s earliest forefather is the 356 1500 America Roadster from 1952. It’s remarkable to note that car cranked out 70hp and was capable of just 109mph. Only 16 examples were produced. By 2010, eight different series and special models had been created under the ‘Speedster’ banner. The most recent model was the Type-997 911 Speedster, with a production run of 356 units. It’s thought Porsche is tooling up to build 1948 copies of the new Speedster, that number celebrating the June 8, 1948 date upon which the very first Porsche 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster received its operating permit.
For now, there’s no official word on cost or availability. But a list price somewhere north of £150,000 and extreme difficulty in securing an allocation at your local Porsche Centre are probably both givens.