Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera Speedster: the finest open-top 911?
Back in the Fifties, Porsche made a simple, purist sports car. It did so by cutting the roof off the contemporary 356, taking off the side windows, stripping the interior of fripperies, giving it a cool name and, complete with a super-attractive price tag, rolled it out to the market.
Totally enamoured, the public duly jumped at the chance of owning one, and the Porsche Speedster legend was born.
It’s surprising, then, that Zuffenhausen forgot about this reaction so quickly. It was launched in the mid Fifties, yet by the Sixties the Speedster concept had gone.
By the time of the 911 in 1963, nobody was really sure that open-top cars could actually exist anyway – with the creation of the Targa a case in point – and so for the next two decades, any thought of reviving the original Speedster spirit simply wasn’t on the agenda.
But then, in the Eighties, once he’d almost single-handedly saved the Porsche 911 and restarted development for it, company CEO Peter Schutz began playing around with some more outlandish ideas.
Green-lighting the Cabriolet and bringing it to dealer showrooms wasn’t enough for him; he had something even more extreme in mind. This turned out to be a Porsche 911 with no side windows, just a rudimentary windscreen, and not even a roof to speak of – a cut-down Cabriolet, if you like, just like the 356 created three decades before. The 911 Speedster concept had arrived.
Clearly, it found favour within the company. Technical director Helmuth Bott later had another go, this time on an old narrow-body SC rather than the widebody favoured by his boss. He also paid a bit more attention to wind protection at speed, with a cool ultra-low wraparound windscreen.
Amalgamating both ideas led to the creation of a concept car set for display at the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show, and the reaction to it proved to Porsche that the concept was worth investigating further.
To read more about the 3.2 Carrera Speedster, including more about its development, and what it is like behind the wheel, pick up a copy of Total 911 issue 114 in store now. Alternatively you can purchase online, or download straight to your digital device.