What better way for Porsche to celebrate its 70th anniversary than with the release of a 500-horsepower Speedster concept?
The Speedster has a long and rich heritage with the Porsche marque, from the first Porsche 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster, which received its operating permit on June 8, 1948, to a send-off of the current-generation 911 before a new platform is released.
This time, the Speedster has been revived as a 911-based concept for Porsche’s 70th anniversary. Developed at the Porsche Motorsport Centre, the birthplace of the 911 GT2 RS and, most recently, the GT3 RS, a 500-horsepower 4.0-liter flat-six from the 911 GT3 has been lovingly wrapped in Carrera 4 bodywork, complete with details like a fuel cap in the centre of the hood, vintage-style mirrors, and two-tone paint that harken back to the original convertible. Even better, this concept is road ready, with hints that we might see it on the streets of Asia as soon as 2019.
The characteristics of the 911 Speedster Concept include the shorter window frame with a more inclined windscreen and correspondingly shortened side windows, which give the sports car study an even stockier profile with a very low fly line reminiscent of predecessors like the Porsche 356 1500 Speedster.
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 traditional element of this sports car design since the 911 Speedster from 1988. Two contrasting black slats between the ‘humps’ add an aerodynamic touch, and a transparent Plexiglas wind deflector features an engraved ‘70 years of Porsche’ logo.
As dictated by the historic original, the 911 Speedster Concept also features a lightweight tonneau cover instead of a convertible top. This cover protects the car interior from rain when parked, and is attached using eight Tenax fasteners.
The broad body of the concept car has been borrowed from the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, although the wings, front bonnet and rear cover of the concept are made of lightweight carbon-fibre composite material. The paintwork in the traditional colours of GT Silver and White harks back to Porsche’s early racing cars – as do many of the other carefully crafted details, such as the 50s-style central fuel tank cap positioned in the middle of the front bonnet, the classic Talbot shape of the exterior mirrors or the unique design of the main headlights.
Transparent and opaque surfaces on the headlight covers produce a cross-like effect and are a nod to a practice prevalent in Porsche’s early years in motorsport. At the time, the original headlights were taped before races to protect them against stone chipping and to prevent the glass from shattering. The wide B-pillars and the rear are decorated with milled, gold-plated Speedster lettering.
Below the bodywork, the 911 Speedster Concept relies on state-of-the-art components. The chassis essentially comes from the 911 GT3, with contrasting high gloss polished clover-leaf details on the imposing 21-inch rims in Fuchs design. It is the first time that these wheels are presented with centre locks. The GT developers also contributed the exhaust system with titanium tailpipes and the powertrain, which includes a six-speed manual transmission. The six-cylinder flat engine in this minimalist concept study delivers over 500hp and reaches speeds of up to 9,000 rpm.
In the interests of the Speedster’s lightweight DNA, the navigation, radio and air conditioning systems have all been eliminated from the cockpit while full bucket seats are made of carbon, and the light brown Aniline leather covers in Cognac 356 pick up on features from the car’s classic predecessors.
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