Porsche has been making cars without roofs pretty much since the first days of the company in postwar Germany. And while those open-lid speed machines have come in many shapes and sizes, some of the most remarkable ones have been the company’s speedster models — especially those set aside with the sobriquet of “spyder.” From like the 550 Spyder of old to the 918 Spyder of new, these open-top sports cars are the spiritual heart of the carmaker — a throughline that taps directly into the pure essence of driving joy.
Not every open-top car Zuffenhausen could make winds up reaching the road, though. Sometimes, that’s for the best; witness the aberration that was the Cayenne Cabriolet Concept. Other times, however, leaving these cars on the cutting room floor means depriving the world of a true automotive masterpiece — which is certainly the case with this sexy Porsche Boxster speedster.
The Porsche Boxster Bergspyder, as it’s officially known, was whipped up in 2015 by special order of the company’s board of executives, as both a way to see just how much lightweighting potential could be found in the 981-generation Boxster/Cayman platform and as a tribute to the Porsche 909 Bergspyder of 1968, a hillclimb special that weighed in at a paltry 849 pounds. The Boxster Bergspyder couldn’t match that — modern safety regulations would make such a weight pretty much impossible today — but Porsche’s engineers and designers did manage to chop the car down to 2,418 pounds, a savings of around 600 lbs versus the regular Boxster.
One way Porsche managed to cut so much weight? Tossing out the passenger’s seat. Well, technically, the company tossed out both seats — they just replaced the driver’s one with a throne based on the ones found in the 918 Spyder. (Elements from that hybrid hypercar also found their way to the Boxster’s dashboard.) In lieu of a windshield, the team affixed a small wind deflector around the cockpit opening, shedding further mass while upping the car’s style quotient significantly.
With the passenger’s seat gone, Porsche was free to coat over its side of the cabin with a tarpaulin made from synthetic leather. (A more permanent carbon fiber lid was planned for later stages of the project.) In the space left over by the seat’s departure, Porsche added an extra cargo bay with a shelf for a helmet, a cover to pop over the driver’s seat, and other incidental storage.
But while saving weight always tastes good, it’s always better when it’s paired with plenty of power. For the Boxster Bergspyder, the engineers sourced the 3.8-liter boxer-six powerplant from the Cayman GT4, connected to a six-speed manual. Its 388 horsepower enabled the Bergspyder to blitz from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about four seconds, according to the company’s estimates, and could theoretically allow it to lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife in seven and a half minutes.
Sadly, theoreticallly is likely the only way the Boxster Bergspyder will ever attack the ‘Ring. Due to concerns about how difficult it might be to register the car in certain countries — cough cough America cough cough — Porsche’s execs put a pin in the project after the development prototype seen here was built, leaving it a one-off tucked away out for site. Until this year, that is. While the single-seat Porsche still isn’t bound for production, it will be making its public debut at the Gaisberg hill climb later this year. Don’t be surprised if it’s hard to see behind the crowds of slathering Porschephiles imagining how their lives might have turned out differently had they been able to park one in their driveway.
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