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Porsche revives Speedster for 991 911

Published on: June 12, 2018
Porsche revives Speedster for 991 911
Porsche revives Speedster for 991 911
Porsche revives Speedster for 991 911
Porsche revives Speedster for 991 911
Porsche revives Speedster for 991 911
Porsche revives Speedster for 991 911
Porsche revives Speedster for 991 911
Porsche revives Speedster for 991 911
Porsche revives Speedster for 991 911
Porsche revives Speedster for 991 911
Porsche revives Speedster for 991 911
Porsche revives Speedster for 991 911
Porsche revives Speedster for 991 911

What's the news?

This glorious, glorious machine is the Porsche 911 Speedster Concept, the 'Speedster' bit reviving a nameplate that's been out of commission since 2010 - when it was used on a special model of the 997-generation 911 - but also one which dates back to the most iconic of old Porsches, the 356.

The 911 Speedster Concept is Porsche's own 70th birthday to itself, revealed on June 8th, 2018, 70 years to the day after the very first 356 'No.1' Roadster received its operating permit. It also possibly previews a limited-edition production special that would probably mark the end of the 991 911's era, with a launch tentatively mooted for 2019.

In simple terms, it's the chassis of a GT3 - it has Carrera 4 bodywork, rather than the inflated Turbo shell - with the power of the GT3 RS, and then Porsche takes the decision to lop the roof off entirely.

This is because Porsche says the 'drive technology under the two-tone shell of the concept study is derived from the current GT models', further adding 'the six-cylinder flat engine... delivers over 500hp and reaches speeds of up to 9,000rpm'. That means it's the GT3 family's 4.0-litre nat-asp unit, which delivers 500hp in the GT3 and 520hp in the RS. Oh, and the Speedster has the six-speed manual 'box of the 991.2 GT3, which is most excellent news.

Drilling down into the finer details, it has a more steeply raked windscreen than the regular 991 variants and correspondingly shortened side windows. While the bodywork is mainly Carrera 4, the wings, front bonnet and the 'double bubble' rollover cover behind the passenger compartment - a feature synonymous with Speedsters past - are all made of carbon fibre. There is a lightweight tonneau cover to protect the interior from rain when the 911 Speedster Concept is parked, but if you want to drive it, it's an open-top only; fairweather convertible fans will need to look at Targa and Cabriolet models of the 911, then.

There are two contrasting black slats between the 'humps' to add an aerodynamic touch, while the Plexiglas wind deflector bears an engraved '70 years of Porsche' logo. Inside, like older Speedsters, the emphasis is on lighter weight, so the satnav, radio and aircon have all been deleted to shed the kilos, while the full bucket seats - trimmed in light-brown, 'Cognac 356' Aniline leather covers - are made of carbon fibre.

Moving back outside, the GT Silver and White paintjob harks back to Porsche's earliest racing cars, as do features like the central fuel tank cap in the front bonnet, the 'Talbot'-shape door mirrors and the main headlights, which feature a transparent design that mimics the old motorsport practice of taping headlamp lenses to prevent them shattering during competitive action. On the B-pillars and the rear engine lid, you'll find gold-plated 'Speedster' lettering and the 21-inch Fuchs design alloys are presented, for the first time, with centre locks. The GT development team behind the concept has also contributed a bespoke exhaust system with titanium tailpipes.

Anything else?

The history of the Speedster name begins in the USA, when the 356 1500 American Roadster was launched in 1952. It was 60kg lighter than a 356 Coupe and had many of the features familiar with Speedsters through the ages, including primitive passenger protection from the elements. The first to officially carry the name was the 356 A 1500 GS Carrera GT Speedster in 1957, with the first 911-based Speedster appearing much later, in 1988. Fully eight different Speedsters have been built since 1952, with the last - that aforementioned 997 of 2010 - built in a limited production of... 356 units.

Porsche says a decision on whether to green-light the 991 Speedster for production next year will be made in the coming months. Come on, Zuffenhausen, you know it makes sense to say 'yes'...




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