Last week, at the New York International Auto Show, the iconic new 911 Speedster was unveiled by Porsche North America. Following on in the tradition that less is more, the Stuttgart manufacturer revealed to the public the latest model that will carry the Speedster flame for a lucky few.
Of course, the 911 Speedster has evolved over the years, and is today a far cry from the first minimalist 356 Speedster (Type 540) back in the autumn of 1954. At the instigation of Max Hoffman, America’s Porsche importer at that time, the Speedster was built primarily for the US market and so it was perhaps appropriate that the new 911 Speedster should be unveiled in North America first, before its launch in Europe next month. Devoid of many of the comforts that adorned other 356 models at the time, the original Speedster was intended as a sports-orientated model due to its lightness and lower windshield. The retractable hood was not its most endearing feature, creating a rather flat profile, but then it was intended to be functional. The new 911 Speedster, while offering fewer comforts and options than its siblings, is still a sophisticated sports car.
So, what does the 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster offer its owner? The chassis of the new Speedster is taken from the 911 GT3, giving the Speedster the performance and handling of a true sports car. It is fitted with a shorter windscreen which is fixed at a more inclined angle, just as it was on the original Speedster. The wings, front bonnet and rear cover of the 2019 model are made of lightweight carbon-fibre composite material.
At the New York International Auto Show, Porsche introduced the optional Heritage Design Package for this limited production sports car. Developed by Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, the Heritage Design Package links the new model back to the roots of Porsche’s sporting past with numerous heritage-inspired styling and design elements.
The interior of the 911 Speedster, with Heritage Design Package, features a distinct classic look with a two-tone leather interior in Black and Cognac. The standard full bucket seats are upholstered in Cognac leather and decorated with a historic Porsche crest that is embossed in the headrest. The lightweight principles of the traditional Speedster philosophy continue through the interior, where the navigation, radio and air conditioning systems have all been eliminated. A special rear cover made of carbon fibre connects behind the front seats, covering a roll-over protection structure and featuring a ‘double bubble’, a familiar element harking back to the 1988 model 911 Speedster.
Exclusively available in conjunction with GT Silver Metallic paint, as a tribute to the golden days of motorsport, the front bumper and front fender ‘arrows’ are painted in white. The gumball styled graphics in white on the front luggage compartment lid and the doors create a link back to the 356’s motor sport days, but the new Speedster can be ordered without these stickers if desired. The historical ‘Porsche’ decal along the lower edge of the doors is another motorsport-inspired feature, offering a further reminder of the marque’s racing roots.
Powered by a naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six engine capable of up to 9000 rpm that is also used in the current 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS models, the 2019 911 Speedster develops 502 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque. This race-bred engine has been enhanced with individual throttle bodies in the 911 Speedster that make the throttle response even sharper, just as in the 911 GT3 R race car. The 911 Speedster is available exclusively with a GT Sport six-speed manual transmission, all of which results in 0-60 mph sprint time of 3.8 seconds, and a top speed of 192 mph.
Porsche will produce just 1948 examples of the new 911 Speedster, this number recognising the brand’s 70th anniversary last year when the Speedster Concept was first revealed. Watch out for these models on the roads in your area, with so few produced, it may be quite a while before you see the next one.
Table of Porsche Speedster production
|Speedster Model||Model year||Production|
|356 & 356A||1955-1958||4120|
*This was a custom one-off model built for Ferdinand Alexander ‘Butzi’ Porsche by the Exclusive Dept.
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Porsche Werkfoto