There's more to the new Porsche 911 Speedster than a pretty body. The cut-down convertible is both an anniversary celebration of Porsche history and the exclamation point on the current 991 series.
It marks the 70th anniversary of the very first Porsche, which was licensed for the road in June of 1948, and will be the last model built before Porsche updates the 991 into the all-new 992 in 2019.
First shown as a concept car on June 8 at Porsche’s headquarters in Zuffenhausen, in a much more retro Heritage variant shown below, it’s no surprise that the Speedster – a name first used on a sports-tweaked version of the original 356 Porsche in the 1950s – got an early go-ahead for production.
“We had people enquiring as soon as there were rumours about the car. As soon as the concept was unveiled we had people asking about it,” Porsche Cars Australian spokesman, Chris Jordan, tells Australian Business Traveller. “We will have our hand up for as many as we can get.”
But that’s likely to be a very small number, as production of this anniversary edition is neatly pegged at 1,948 cars.
There's no news yet on the sticker for the new Speedster but everything points to more than $350,000.
The sums are simple because the Speedster is based on the Carrera 4 cabriolet, which is priced from $293,000, and it picks up much of the running gear - including a howling flat-six engine that spins to 9000 revs - from the $326,000 GT3 road rocket.
“We don’t know very much yet about the specification, or the price,” admits Jordan. “It’s such a limited edition. It’s not even a low-volume production car.”
Visually, the Speedster has the general look of a Carrera 4 but the window frames are shortened with smaller side windows, there is a carbon fibre rear bonnet with double-bubble cowl behind the twin seats, the fuel cap is set in the centre of the bonnet, and there are special 21-inch alloys with a design similar to the latest 911 RSR.
Anyone wondering about weather protection will be happy to know that there is a lightweight tonneau cover, but not a traditional convertible roof.
Production of the 911 Speedster will not begin until next year, with the 992-series coupe set for a public preview at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2018.
No-one at Porsche will confirm the production plan for the Speedster, beyond admitting that the cars are likely to come through on a trickle feed.
That is a similar story to the 911 GT2 RS, which is a very rare sighting in Australia. Despite a price tag beyond $600,000 it’s been a sellout, but local deliveries have been delayed while cars for Europe – which gets a strict new emissions standard on January 1 next year – are built.
“Last month was the start of us catching up on GT2. Until then it was a very slow trickle,” Jordan says. “It’s certainly getting a lot better now. All the European cars had to be made first and now we’re getting a few more in. We’ve gone from dealers getting one car every couple of months to one a month.”