To celebrate 70 years in the car business, Porsche built a concept car that recalls its very first production model. The first production-spec Porsche 356 featured a tonneau roof that was lighter and simpler than a conventional folding convertible top. Later dubbed Speedster, this body style was a trademark of early Porsches, and has been revived occasionally in recent decades for special-edition models. The Porsche 911 Speedster concept keeps that tradition going.
The concept car is a current-generation 991.2 911 that’s been given the Speedster treatment. Porsche started with a 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet and then began hacking away. The windshield and side windows are shorter, and the windshield is also at a steeper angle. The carbon-fiber rear decklid incorporates fairings behind the seats, just like the 1988 911 Speedster.
In place of a convertible top, Porsche fitted what is basically a tarp, held in place with eight fasteners. The interior is equally basic: Porsche ditched the navigation system, radio, and air conditioning to help reduce weight. The seats are made from carbon fiber, but are trimmed in leather with a light brown color meant to reference classic Porsches. Other retro touches include Talbot-style exterior mirrors, an external fuel cap, and “X” shapes in the headlights, a reference to the practice of taping over headlights before races to prevent them from shattering in crashes. The GT Silver Metallic and White two-tone paint references Porsche’s early racing colors.
Don’t think that the 911 Speedster concept is all show and no go, though. The car’s naturally aspirated flat-six engine produces over 500 horsepower and revs to 9,000 rpm. It’s also connected to a six-speed manual transmission. The Speedster’s suspension was lifted from the 911 GT3. The car rides on 21-inch wheels featuring the classic Fuchs design, but with modern center-lock hubs.
The 911 Speedster is strictly a concept car, but it’s possible that it could go into production eventually. Porsche last offered a 911-based Speedster in 2010with a limited run of just 356 units. That car was based on the 997-generation 911, which was replaced shortly after the Speedster debuted. A new Speedster would make sense as a way to give the current 991.2 a sendoff before the next generation of 911 arrives.