Porsche 911 Speedster Concept: 70 Years In The Making
by Martin Green
“Concept car” is one of the most dreaded terms among car fans.
The reason? The use of this word usually means that the brand has created an ultra-cool car for you to look at, but one you cannot buy. Sometimes it stays that way forever, and sometimes a brand actually creates a road-going version of such a car – one that you can only hope follows the concept closely enough to still remain desirable.
Seventy years after the very first Porsche 356 Roadster hit the road on June 8, 1948 Porsche has launched the new 911 Speedster Concept.
Introduced in Zuffenhausen during the 70 Years Porsche Sportscar celebrations, Porsche’s management used phrases like “a glimpse of a potential series-production version” and “the decision to do so or not will be made in the coming months.”
This is Porsche speak for “place your pre-order, leave a blank check, and we will call you when your car is ready.” Of course, Porsche will make this 911 Speedster a reality, if only because it is so easy for the brand to do so.
The same yet different
That is perhaps the most captivating part of the 911 Speedster: it is not so different from a 911 convertible yet at the same time different enough to evoke an even higher level of desirability.
Porsche actually took the body of the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet and replaced the hood, rear cover, and wings with components made from a lightweight carbon-fiber composite material. The windshield was not only shortened but also placed at a more extreme angle, with the side windows revised accordingly. This creates that special aerodynamic look, turning a Porsche convertible into a Speedster.
Completing the ensemble is a “double bubble” integrated roll-over protection behind the seat, while a Plexiglas wind deflector between them adds to the driver and passenger’s comfort level.
Those looking for where Porsche has hidden the foldable roof will look in vain. It is a Speedster, so just like the original it only comes with a lightweight tonneau cover. But you don’t even have to bother with that, because another Speedster tradition is that you will never use it anyway.
Porsche power and an eye for detail
Porsche might have used the bodywork of the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet as a base, but for its engine it went a different route: the Speedster is actually fitted with the 4.0-litre flat-six engine from the 911 GT3, which means that you have 500 horsepower at your disposal from an engine that loves to rev up to 9,000 rpm.
While Porsche has not disclosed any performance information, remember that it is a concept car, meaning there should be ample power to make a ride in this 911 thrilling.
This is further enhanced by the fact that Porsche equipped the 911 Speedster Concept with a six-speed manual transmission. This might make it not as fast as it could have been had it been fitted with an automatic transmission, but all the more fun.
I think in general that many manufacturers of high-performance cars are too focused on speed; while less speed and more emotion might reduce bragging rights, the driver makes it back double on the driving experience. Unfortunately, if Porsche decides to take this concept into production, I doubt many will actually take their cars to the road as limited edition/production Porsches, even modern ones, have proven to be solid investments.
While I wouldn’t call this 911 Speedster “retro,” it does have a few fun features inspired by the rich past of the brand in general and the Speedster in particular.
Alongside the tonneau cover, the 911 Speedster also features specially designed side mirrors that mimic those of the Speedsters that came before it.
The headlights have large Xs edged in them, as a reference to the taped headlights of the early Porsche race cars. The same with the design of the fuel cap.
And then there are of course the rims inspired by the famous Fuchs of yesteryear, yet now in 21 inch and with a center lock.
Porsche will send the 911 Speedster Concept on tour: it was shown at The Festival of Speed at Goodwood July 12–15, 2018 after which it will attend the Rennsport Reunion in California September 27–30, 2018.
The final chance to see it in the metal is October 13, 2018, when it will be on display at Sound Night in the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart.
After this tour, I would be very surprised if Porsche hasn’t received enough blank checks to take this new Speedster into production.
For more information, please visit www.newsroom.porsche.com/en/products/porsche-911-speedster-concept-world-premiere-70-years-sportscar-celebrations-road-ready-study.
Quick Facts Porsche 911 Speedster Concept
Engine: 4.0-liter flat six from the 911 GT3
Power: 500 bhp
Transmission: 6-speed manual transmission
Acceleration: not disclosed
Top speed: not disclosed
Base price: concept car, not for sale, but you can certainly tempt Porsche by giving them a blank check.