2011 Porsche 911 Speedster Gets its Chop on Ahead of Paris Debut [w/ Video]
Back in simpler times (when people only knew CO2 from its work with soda pop and the foreign boogeyman du jour wore a ushanka instead of a keffiyeh), Porsche was having trouble finding very many buyers for its 356 line on this side of the pond. The marque’s U.S. distributor, Max Hoffman, suggested a lower-priced, decontented convertible with a sportier cut-down windshield might sell better. Thus was born the 356 Speedster and the rest, so the cliché goes, is history.
However, that wasn’t the last rear-engine Porker to wear the speedster name; a tiny handful of 1989, ‘92 and ’93 911 Speedsters were produced. They featured “chopped” windshields not unlike those of the 356 Speedsters, as well as a hard tonneau that fit over the back seats and had fairings that rose up to meet the front backrests. The 911 Speedsters also helped commemorate the end of production of their respective generations of 911 (3.2 Carrera and 964), and after a couple generations’ hiatus (two special-order 993-based Speedsters notwithstanding), the rumored 911 Speedster revival is indeed happening to help send the current 997 series into the sunset.
This time around, the A-pillars rise 2.36-inches lower than they do on the standard 997 Cabrio, and they’ve also been raked back to increase the illusion of going fast while standing still. Of course, the Speedster actually will go fast, if the special revised 3.8L flat-six sitting in its badonk-a-donk has any say in the matter. It serves up 408hp, which is 23 more than it does in the 911 Carrera S, and is matched exclusively with the 7-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (“PDK” for those who are more horrified than amused by the Germans’ penchant for diabolically long compound words.) dual-clutch transmission. Sixty-two miles-per-hour arrives in 4.6 seconds, while top speed comes in at 189.5 (How’s that for German precision?) mph, though Porsche hasn’t specified if the latter is reached with the unique manually-operated softtop up or down.
In deference to the O.G. Speedster, Porsche Exclusive – the in-house customizing and personalization arm that is handling the Speedster program and is celebrating its 25th year of operation – is capping production at 356 units, though you can have any color you want as long as it’s Pure Blue or Carrera White. Expect 100 or so of those 356 to make their way Stateside. Price? $265,000 at current exchange rates. Excuse us while we explore the bowels of our sofa.