To mark its 70th anniversary to the day, Porsche has just revealed the 911 Speedster concept packing a 500-horsepower GT3 drivetrain and no roof to spoil the fun at 9,000rpm…
From a bunch of wooden sheds in a little village called Gmünd beneath the Austrian Alps, on June 8 1948, the very first Porsche “No. 1” 356 rolled out into the sun. A car company was born.
The beginnings of Porsche were a mid-engined roadster designed by Erwin Komenda, powered by a 1.1-litre flat-four engine mounted right behind the driver, with no roof to spoil things.
Now 70 years later Porsche is celebrating in style, with a 911 Speedster concept car unveiled for the celebrations in Zuffenhausen to commemorate the one that started it all.
In simple terms you can think of this birthday special as a 911 GT3 with a Speedster body, because the concept is a fully functional car packing a 4.0-litre naturally-aspirated engine from Weissach, making 500 horsepower at 8,250rpm with a 9,000rpm limit, and 460Nm of torque at 6,000rpm. You’ll want to rev it.
Instead of a roof the Speedster gets a lightweight tonneau cover, which is good for the kerb weight figure and your ears, although Porsche doesn’t reveal how much the concept weighs compared to the 1,413kg GT3. So you drive around with no top all the time because the cover is merely for protection if the car happens to be parked outside, attaching over the cabin with eight snap-on fasteners.
This purity and minimalism continues inside, where the Speedster concept has no sound system or sat-nav screen, although of course when it likely goes into limited production most customers will just spec the weighty equipment back in. The bucket seats too are made of carbon fibre, and natural cognac leather fits the classic theme nicely.
Harking back to some of Porsche’s earliest race cars, the silver and white body features loads of details like a ‘50s-style central fuel tank cap, some bullet side mirrors, and faint Xs on the headlights mimicking the tape racers used to stick on back in the day to prevent shattering glass. On the B-pillars and around the back the Speedster concept signs off with gold-plated badging, and the 21 wheels take the look of classic Fuchs you used to see on old air-cooled 911s.
The last time we saw a 911 Speedster was in 2010 with the 997 generation when Porsche produced 356 units worldwide, so should this latest concept get the green light, and chances are high, expect a similarly limited run and a collectors-only price.