Porsche 911 Speedster Concept: Should We Hold Our Breath?

  • The Porsche 911 Speedster Concept shows a “new equipment range” from Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur.
  • Porsche says the concept’s engine revs to 9,000 rpm. 
  • Will it come to market? We will find out soon enough. 

Ah, the Porsche Speedster. It’s a name that means so much, but, by their own hand, has been sort of maligned by Porsche themselves. This latest version, which Porsche says is only a “concept” for now, looks to be the business.

But whether it is or not – or whether Porsche will even build the thing – is pretty much up in the air. To begin, there are two things at play here: a car and a wristwatch.

Designer Dog Dishes

Leave it to Porsche to make a fairly simple thing (“Hey! We’ve got this concept car you should check out!“) into something needlessly complicated (“Hey! We’ve got this concept car you should check out! Oh, and this wristwatch, which is kinda the same thing! Oh, and here’s the needless backstory!“).

For those that may not know, there’s a thing called Porsche Design. Porsche Design does all sorts of stuff. Sunglasses and watches and stereo gear and pen sets and other hideously, overpriced knick-knacks. They are a separate entity, but they occasionally collaborate. Such is the case here, but we’ll only go into the friggin’ watch portion of this stuff if space (and my patience) permits.

The car portion of this stuff, the actual Speedster itself, is well worth your time. The concept Speedster had its North American premiere at the recent Rennsport Reunion VI at Laguna Seca. And, so they say, the crowds were very impressed. Then again, Rennsport Reunions are a Porsche-only affair, and Rennsport crowds would be impressed by a Porsche dog dish.

So take all of that with a grain of salt.

Porsche 911 Speedster Concept. Photo: Porsche Cars North America, Inc.

Heritage Design Packages

This Porsche concept is based on the current 991 generation of the evergreen 911. Porsche says it’s a preview of a “potential new equipment range from the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur.” Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur is their in-house “we can make it that way just for you (for a hefty price)” shop. Sort of the latest version of the old Porsche Sonderwunsch Programm. The Speedster also is being used as a canvas to show off the company’s Heritage Design packages. If customers go for this idea, then Porsche will consider providing a modern interpretation of their distinctive themes as far back as the 1950s.

Personally, I like this whole idea of painting new cars like they were old racers. I hope this catches on.

Flying Colors

The Porsche 911 Speedster Concept is a two-tone GT Silver Metallic and White. The white note flashes are reminiscent of the red and white schemes found on the first Porsche 917 to win at Le Mans. The whole car was a collaboration between Porsche Motorsport, Style Porsche, and Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur.

It’s hard not to like the overall look, with the laid-down windshield, twin headrest fairings, retro paint job, and those gorgeous, Talbot-esque rearview mirrors (chrome, natch).

Photo: Porsche Cars North America, Inc.

It’s hard not to like the overall look, with the laid-down windshield, twin headrest fairings, retro paint job, and those gorgeous, Talbot-esque rearview mirrors. Click To Tweet

Proof In The Pudding

The Porsche 911 Speedster Concept is powered by a naturally aspirated flat-six engine (duh!) putting out “over” 500 horsepower. This plant, which Porsche seems to have the infinite capability to develop and get more and more out of, can rev to 9,000 rpm. Which is way up there. Really way up there. Like, that would be a lot of fun to hear on a regular basis. All those Pferde get to the rear wheels and only the rears via a six-speed manual transmission.

The development focus was on creating a pure and exhilarating driving experience says ze Deutschers, but at this stage there’s no real way of knowing. If you want us to be sure, oh great engineers of Zuffenhausen, then drop one by One Automoblog Towers, Detroit, Michigan, and we’ll let you know what we think. Ask for Carl.

Limber Lumber Wagons

Yes, the Porsche 911 Speedster Concept is just that: a concept. So talking about its performance potential is kind of beside the point. But it does give us the opportunity to say that if Porsche really wants to create a pure and exhilarating driving experience, they have to go against their recent trend. Porsches back in the day were essentially hot-rodded VW Beetles with swoopier bodies. They were light, tight, and handled . . . well, not right, but in a fun enough way. Until you spun it into a ditch because of the weight distribution and tractor-derived suspension.

But lately, for the past couple of decades, Porsche has gone light, tight, and handles not all that bad. Now they’ve gone bloated, feature-laden, and computer-controlled, but the handling is better (thanks to all those binary nannies).

If Porsche wants to make a new Speedster for the 2020s and beyond, it should weigh close to a Miata but still keep that “over” 500 horsepower. But no. Our customers want features. Our customers expect luxury items. We have to add 158 airbags. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Photo: Porsche Cars North America, Inc.

But lately, for the past couple of decades, Porsche has gone light, tight, and handles not all that bad. Click To Tweet

Availability

A decision about a production version of the Porsche 911 Speedster Concept is forthcoming. Hopefully that decision will be Nicht nur ja, aber Hölle ja!

As for the watch that compliments the car? That’s the “Porsche Design 911 Speedster Concept Chronograph.” Got it? Not a watch, a concept chronograph. People will buy anything, won’t they?

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz

Photos & Source: Porsche Cars North America, Inc.

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