There’s an intimate story behind the Porsche 911 Carrerra GTS Cabriolet America Edition. Seventy-two years ago, Austrian-born importer Max Hoffman had a tête-à-tête with Ferry Porsche at the Paris Auto Show. The two men were discussing the sales potential of Porsche vehicles in America.
Hoffman founded the Hoffman Motor Company in New York in 1947 after emigrating to the USA from France in 1941 to escape the Nazi regime. After the war, his company began importing desirable European exotic cars like the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider. Hoffman was also the first to import Volkswagens and BMWs by 1953.
The first three units of the Porsche 356 arrived on U.S. shores in 1950, and Hoffman became the first to import Porsche vehicles to Uncle Sam. By 1954, Hoffman was selling more than 11 Porsche 356 models a week, far exceeding Ferry Porsche’s expectations of selling only five cars per year. It was an impressive feat, given the Porsche 356 started at about $4,000 at a time when a posh Cadillac sedan was selling for the same amount.
“There Is Something Special”
Hoffman was so successful he kick-started Porsche’s long and illustrious history in North America. Still, he had another idea: Convince Ferry Porsche into building a smaller and more affordable rendition of the 356, a back-to-basics, stripped-down sports car priced at $3,000. Porsche responded in the autumn of 1954 with the 356 America Roadster.
Equipped with a 1.5-liter Boxer four-cylinder engine with 70 horsepower, the America Roadster had 30 more horses than a regular 356. Porsche only built 16 examples of the 356 America Roadster, making it among the rarest 356 variants in the German automaker’s history. It also became the blueprint for the iconic 356 Speedster and is forever known as a passionate symbol of performance in the sports car arena.
The next Porsche 911 to wear the “America Roadster” badge arrived in 1992 as a Carrera 2 cabriolet with a widebody kit, bespoke suspension, and 17-inch Porsche Cup wheels from the 964-generation Porsche 911 Turbo. Forty years on, Porsche is introducing the 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet America Edition as a 2023 model to celebrate its commercial and racing success.
“This is the perfect time to add another ‘America’ model to our story as we look back on 70 years since the 356 America Roadster and 30 years since the 964 America Roadster,” said Kjell Gruner, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America Inc. “Passion for driving runs deep in the United States. In particular, there is something special about hitting the road in an open-top 911 with a manual transmission that fits perfectly here.”
Twin-Turbo Boxer Engine
True to form, the Porsche 911 GTS America Edition shares most of its go-fast parts with a standard 911. It has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six engine with 473 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque, about 30 more horses, and 30 more lb-ft. of torque than in a 911 Carrera S. And like the original Porsche 356, the newest America Edition is only available as a cabriolet with a standard rear-wheel drivetrain and a seven-speed manual gearbox.
Other goodies include a PASM Sport suspension with a 10 mm lower ride height and helper springs for the rear axle, while the Sport Exhaust and Porsche’s Sport Chrono Package are standard fare. Meanwhile, the anchors are 16-inch cast-iron rotors with six-piston aluminum calipers in the front and 14.9-inch rotors with four-piston calipers in the back.
The Porsche 911 America’s eye-catching Azure Blue 356 paint job is a direct nod to the limited-edition 356 America Roadster of 1953. The vehicle’s American-themed vibe is the brainchild of Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur and includes a satin black windshield frame and the first-ever tri-color wheels from Porsche.
Those gorgeous 20-inch front and 21-inch rear RS Spyder Design alloy wheels have a white, silver, and red theme. Moreover, the white side decals feature red accents for an added touch of Americana.
Inside, it has illuminated door sill plates, black leather upholstery, red seat belts, a white-faced instrument cluster, and a heated GT Sport steering wheel. The Pebble Gray dashboard has delicate red and two-tone red and gray stitches on the center console for an added vintage touch.
Porsche 911 Carrera GTS America Edition: Pricing & Availability
The Porsche 911 Carrera GTS America Edition arrives at U.S. dealerships in late 2022. The base price starts at $186,370 (inclusive of the $1,450 delivery fees). The optional extended interior package adds more red accents and two-tone stitching for an additional $7,500.
Porsche is only making 115 units of the 911 Carrera GTS America Edition – 100 for the United States and 15 for Canada – so better hurry if you want an American-themed 911 cabriolet.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.
Photos & Source: Porsche Cars North America, Inc.