Opinion: give us a Porsche 991 Speedster
The Speedster is a superb iteration of 911, isn’t it? Sure, some have berated the car for years for grossly spoiling the 911’s timeless silhouette, while others have pointed to Porsche’s disclaimer against the roof’s inability to stave off water as reason enough for the concept to be flawed. Personally speaking, though, the Speedster makes for a glorious hark back to Porsche’s earliest work, and actually makes for the best form of open-top 911.
Introduced to the 911’s lineage in January 1989 under 3.2 Carrera guise, the Speedster was deemed a success with nearly 2,000 examples sold in just seven months of its production life (before the 3.2 made way for the 964). Nearly all came in glorious widebody form with bigger 16-inch diameter Fuchs, while from the waistline down it was all the best of late 3.2 Carrera fare, including the G50 gearbox with its sweeter shift.
Visually, the glass-fibre tonneau cover looks neater than a retracted and folded roof over the rump of a Cabriolet counterpart and, let’s face it, the argument that the rear seats are compromised by this body style is inconsequential for the 911, where rear seats are less than adequate for anybody past their toddler years.
With the roof removed, the driver is treated to the aural delights of Zuffenhausen’s famous flat six in action, and visibility looking forwards is actually enhanced over a Cabriolet or Targa. This is because although the windscreen is shorter and raked back by five degrees, the side of the screen makes for a wafer-thin ‘A’ pillar, with quarter-light panels completely removed. As a result of all this, the all-round driving sensation is one of pure bliss.
The 964 Speedster was special enough too. Although the majority were built in narrow-body form, the 964 iteration did benefit from an RS-spec interior and looks far more natural as an open-topped 911 than it’s Cabriolet or even Targa brethren.
Of course, we had to wait years for the Speedster to return to the 911 lineup with the introduction of the 997 Speedster in 2011. The windscreen was shorter again, but this time it wasn’t raked back any more than a 997 Carrera. However, Porsche did release the car with an enviable list of extra equipment thrown in including the Powerkit and 19-inch Fuchs. It was costly at £144,000 when new (some way above even the 997 C4S Cabriolet, which started at under £100,000) but let’s not forget its rarity was guaranteed with only 356 examples made in homage to Porsche’s original.
However, the 997 is the last in the line at present. An open-topped two-seater is offered elsewhere in Porsche’s range (just think Boxster or even 918, though these are at vastly different extremes to the price point of a 911) yet the exclusivity of a 991 Speedster will no doubt have great appeal to enthusiasts – particularly those who intend to actually drive it and are blessed with great weather all year round.
More importantly, a 991 Speedster will make for the perfect salute from Porsche in terms of a modern-day throwback to a simpler, more traditional time of motoring – hugely appropriate right now as the 911 turns to turbocharged engines from September. So go on, Porsche Exclusiv: give us a 991 Speedster, please.
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