Is a production model underway?

Porsche just celebrated 70 years since its very first automobile, the 356 "No. 1," was created on June 8, 1948, and unveiled a speedster model based on the 911. But, while we were expecting a production model this year, the Germans showcased a production-ready concept car.

Developed at the Porsche Motorsport Center in Weissach, which is the birthplace of the 911 GT3, 911 GT3 RS, and the 911 GT2 RS, the Speedster Concept also celebrates the company’s long-standing tradition of making speedster-type roadsters, which don’t have folding roofs and are usually stripped of convenience features. The concept car likely previews a production model, further feeding rumors that a 911 Speedster will follow toward the end of 2018. But until that happens, let’s have a closer look at this concept car.

Porsche 911 Speedster Concept Exterior

  • Based on 911 Carrera 4
  • CFRP bumpers and trunk lid
  • Quick-release pins
  • Unique headlamp covers
  • Shorter windows
  • Flying buttresses
  • Fuchs-type wheels
  • Titanium exhaust pipes
Based on the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, the Speedster Concept sports quite a few unique design elements

Based on the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, the Speedster Concept shares a few features with its production sibling, but it also sports quite a few unique design elements. Up front, we can see black-painted trim around the side vents and a dark silver metallic trunk lid with quick-release pins and a center-mounted fuel cap. The latter is reminiscent of 1950s Porsche models.

The unique front-end design is finished off with bespoke headlamp covers that have transparent surfaces that resemble the shape of an "X." These are a nod to the era when automakers used to tape up headlamps before races to protect them against stone shipping and from shattering. Both the front fenders and the trunk lid are made from carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer in order to save weight.

2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept Exterior
- image 782991
The windshield is shorter and has a greater angle while the deck lid features roll-over hoops

Moving onto the sides, we can see the main elements that turn the 911 into an authentic speedster. The windshield is shorter and has a greater angle, the side windows are also shorter, while the deck lid features two flying buttresses. The hoops and the seats are separated by a carbon-fiber cover with "Speedster" lettering in gold. The Talbot-shape side mirrors also hark back to Porsche models from the past, as do the Fuchs-design rims. The 21-inch wheels have race-inspired center locks for the very first time. The number "70" in a big white circle and "Porsche" graphics on the doors round off the classic look.

Around back, the Speedster Concept showcases a transparent plexiglas wind deflector between the rollover hoops and a revised decklid that no longer features the usual grille above the engine. There’s also gold "Speedster" lettering on the rear fascia and a pair of center-mounted exhaust pipes made from titanium. The concept car also comes with a lightweight tonneau cover. Since speedsters don’t have folding roofs, this cover is mainly designed to protect the interior from bad weather while parked.

All told, this concept car definitely looks like an authentic speedster. What’s more, it looks as if it’s ready to go into production.

Porsche 911 Speedster Concept Interior

  • 911 Carrera interior
  • A/C delete
  • Bucket seats
  • Brown leather
  • Fabric pull loops
2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept Interior
- image 782986
The standard seats were replaced with full bucket seats made from carbon-fiber

Porsche didn’t have much to say about the interior, but it appears to be the standard 911 Carrera with minor modifications. In the pure speedster tradition, the Germans removed the navigation, radio, and air conditioning system to reduce weight. The standard seats were replaced with full bucket seats made from carbon-fiber. These were wrapped in light brown leather as a tribute to the classic Speedster models. Other unique features include brown inserts on the door panels and dashboard, fabric pull loops instead of the original door openers, and gold "Speedster" badges.

Porsche 911 Speedster Concept Performance

  • 911 GT3 RS drivetrain
  • 4.0-liter flat-six
  • More than 500 horsepower
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds
  • Rear-wheel steering?
2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept Exterior
- image 782988
While the body is borrowed from the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, the entire drivetrain is taken from the more hardcore 911 GT3

While the body is borrowed from the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, the entire drivetrain is taken from the more hardcore 911 GT3. Porsche didn’t provide too much information, but it did say that the engine, probably the familiar 4.0-liter flat-six, cranks out "more than 500 horsepower." For reference, the 911 GT3 comes with 500 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque on tap, while the GT3 RS model benefits from 520 horses. Considering the "more than 500 horsepower" claim, it’s safe to assume that this concept is a 911 GT3 underneath.

However, while the GT3 RS is sold with an automatic PDK transmission only, the Speedster is equipped with the six-speed manual gearbox. Good news for gearheads, assuming that Porsche will put this concept car into production.

2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept Exterior
- image 782987
While the GT3 RS is sold with an automatic PDK transmission only, the Speedster is equipped with the six-speed manual gearbox

The big mystery is how fast this car actually is. Due to the convertible layout that usually requires a bit more reinforcing, the Speedster Concept should be a tad slower than the GT3 RS. With the latter needing three seconds to hit 60 mph with the PDK, the Speedster probably needs around 3.5 clicks. Top speed is probably rated at over 185 mph, but don’t expect it to be as fast as the 911 GT3 RS, which hits 194 mph.

The concept should feature all the other GT3 RS goodies, including a rear-axle steering system, dynamic engine mounts, ceramic-composite brakes, and the Chrono Package. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Porsche also added the anti-roll bars and end links made from carbon-fiber that come with the Weissach package.

Conclusion

2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept Exterior
- image 782990

Needless to say, the Speedster Concept’s arrival is a bit of a surprise. Not because Porsche wasn’t expected to build a new speedster version of the 911, but because we were preparing for a production model. A prototype is already being tested on public roads and word has it we will see it in the metal by the end of 2018. I guess we can say that this concept car is confirmation that a production model is coming, even though Porsche clearly built it to celebrate 70 years since it completed its first ever road car. Pairing a speedster body with 911 GT3 RS underpinning is definitely an exciting option and all I can hope is that the production version turns out to be the same.

  • Leave it
    • * Just a concept car

Further Reading

2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Exterior Spyshots
- image 780808

Read our full speculative review on the 2018 Porsche 911 Speedster

1955 - 1958 Porsche 356a Speedster
- image 643617

Read our full review of the 1955-1958 Porsche 356a Speedster

1989 Porsche 911 Speedster High Resolution Exterior
- image 452511
1989 Porsche 911 Speedster

Read our full review of the 1989 Porsche 911 Speedster

1994 Porsche 964 Speedster High Resolution Exterior
- image 555642

Read our full review on the 1994 Porsche 964 Speedster.

2010 Porsche 911 Speedster High Resolution Exterior
- image 374960

Read our full review of the 2010 Porsche 911 Speedster

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Read more Porsche news.

Press release

Porsche unveiled a thrilling concept as part of the 70th anniversary of its sports cars: the 911 Speedster Concept is a drivable vision of a particularly exciting open-top sports car. It links the very first Porsche 356 “No. 1” Roadster, which received its operating permit on June 8, 1948, with today’s Porsche cars. The purist concept and historically accurate execution of the 911 Speedster Concept clearly reflect the essence of the Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer. All elements of the car emphasize a pure driving experience. The powertrain under the two-tone painted body of the concept is derived from current GT models. It was developed at the Porsche Motorsport Center in Weissach, which is the birthplace of the 911 GT3, the 911 GT2 RS and, most recently, the 911 GT3 RS. The 911 Speedster Concept celebrated its world premiere as part of the official “70 years of Porsche Sports Cars” anniversary celebrationThe in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen.

The characteristics of the 911 Speedster Concept include a shorter windshield frame with a greater windscreen angle and shorter side windows. These features give the concept an even more pronounced stance with a very low fly line, which is reminiscent of its predecessors, for example the Porsche 356 Speedster. A special rear decklid made of carbon fiber connects behind the front seats, covering supplemental safety bars and featuring two “streamliners”, a traditional element of this sports car design since the first 911 Speedster was introduced in 1988. Two contrasting black slats between the “streamliners” add an aerodynamic touch, and a transparent Plexiglas™ wind deflector features an etched ‘70 years of Porsche’ logo.

Like the historic original, the 911 Speedster Concept also features a lightweight tonneau cover in place of a convertible top. This cover protects the interior from rain when parked and is attached using eight Tenax™ fasteners. The Speedster philosophy also defines the interior, where the navigation, radio and air conditioning systems have all been removed to reduce weight. The Full Bucket Seats are made of carbon fiber, and light brown natural leather in Cognac picks up on features from the car’s classic predecessors.

The body of the concept car was adopted from the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet. The fenders, front trunk lid and the rear decklid cover of the concept are made of light-weight carbon fiber reinforced polymer composite material. Traditional GT Silver Metallic and White paintwork harks back to Porsche’s early race cars – as do many of the other carefully crafted details, such as the 50s-style central fuel tank cap positioned in the front trunk lid, the classic Talbot® shape of the exterior mirrors or the unique design of the headlights. Transparent and opaque surfaces on the headlight covers resemble the shape of an “X” and are a nod to a practice prevalent in Porsche’s early years in motorsport. At the time, the headlights were taped up before races to protect them against stone chipping and to prevent the glass from shattering. The wide B-pillars and the rear fascia are decorated with milled, gold-plated Speedster lettering.

Underneath the skin, the 911 Speedster Concept features state-of-the-art components. The chassis is essentially derived from the 911 GT3. Imposing 21-inch Fuchs-design rims with contrasting high gloss polished petals details are unique to the 911 Speedster Concept. It is the first time that Fuchs-design wheels have been fitted with center locks. The GT development department also supplies the exhaust system with titanium tailpipes and the powertrain, which includes a six-speed manual transmission. The naturally aspirated flat-six engine in this minimalist concept study delivers over 500 horsepower and revs up to 9,000 rpm.

The history of Porsche Speedster models began in the United States
Speedster variants of sports car models, which combine open-top driving pleasure with incredibly distinctive driving dynamics, have been part of the Porsche company history since 1952. The forefather of Porsche Speedster models, the 356 1500 America Roadster, had an aluminum body manufactured entirely by hand. It weighed about 130 pounds (60 kilograms) less than the 356 Coupe and its top track speed of 108 miles per hour (175 km/h) with its 70-hp four-cylinder flat engine was impressive at the time. Featuring slot-in curtain windows for the doors, a folding top and lightweight bucket seats, this car developed exclusively for the US market was built just 16 times and already embodied several key elements of the Speedster design.

By 2010, eight different production and special models bearing the “Speedster” name had been created. The 356 A 1500 GS Carrera GT Speedster represented a highlight in 1957, and the first 911 Speedster followed in 1988. Limited to just 356 units worldwide, the 911 Speedster of the 997 generation built in 2010 was the latest model to be fitted with the famous designation.

“70 years of Porsche Sports Cars” – special exhibition and numerous activities
In a special exhibition at the Porsche Museum, the company is now showcasing numerous stories and milestones with which Porsche has decisively influenced the development of the sports car since 1948 and continues to do so today, highlighting outstanding Porsche developments over the past seven decades.

The sports car manufacturer is also celebrating this anniversary with numerous activities around the world throughout 2018. Tomorrow, June 9, Porsche will be inviting fans to its Sportscar Together Day at all of its sites around the world. During the weekend of June 16–17, the sports car manufacturer will host employees, residents of the Zuffenhausen district and prospective customers at a celebration in and around the factory in Stuttgart.

The Festival of Speed, held from July 12–15 at Goodwood in the U.K., will also celebrate the anniversary, as will Rennsport Reunion VI at the legendary Laguna Seca racetrack in California from September 27–30. The celebrations will conclude with the “Sound Night” event, which will be held for the first time in the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart on October 13.

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