Concept cars usually end up with two distinct destinies: they either remain concepts, never to earn road-legal status, or they get the green light for production, but drastically changed for mass appeal. It’s a relief to hear Porsche is gifting itself a 70th-anniversary present with a 1,948-unit run of the 991 911 Speedster this week at the Paris Motor Show.
The seemingly random production number is a homage to the original Porsche ‘Number 1’ 356 which kicked everything off in 1948. The firey Guards Red paint job is another callback — to the 1988 911 Speedster. From there, there are some subtle and not-so-subtle details with vintage Porsche written all over them, like the beautiful black chrome ‘Talbot’ shaped wing mirrors and a center-of-the-hood mounted fuel-filler cap and black stone guards in front of the rear haunches. But, it’s the modern parts that’ll give you the real goosebumps.
As is Speedster tradition, Porsche shortened the windshield frame and windows with a double-bubble cover to store the roof panels when not installed. The tinted daytime running lights pay tribute to Porsche’s GT race cars. Everything is built around a GT3 chassis using a Carrera 4 Cabriolet body and carbon fiber body panels. Out back, Porsche fitted a 500 horsepower, naturally aspirated flat-six with a 9,000 RPM redline and connected it to a six-speed manual gearbox and titanium exhaust.
The Speedster is an exercise in lightweight: there are nylon pull-loops for interior door handles and no center console to speak of. The combination of high-revving engine and manual gearbox, with vintage style peppered in to taste, signifies that this might be one of the greatest modern Porsches to leave the factory in Stuttgart. They’re few and far between, but if one concept is going to make the leap to production, we’re lucky it’s the new Porsche Speedster.
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