Porsche 911 Speedster: omission for an extra charge

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Porsche 911 Speedster
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James Dean and the Porsche Speedster

W he says Speedster, mostly thinks of the original model, the old 356 from the 50s. James Dean, an American Hollywood hero of those days, is also fondly remembered in this context: Wasn't there something with the two of them? Right. Dean, made famous by the hooligan epic 'Because they don't know what they're doing', also drives in the Speedster through the Californian summer wind. But the good-looking young man only became a tragic figure through a fatal accident in 1955 on the public road with another Porsche, the racing car called the 550 Spyder.

The Speedster and Spyder have nothing in common except the engine somewhere in the back and that Boxer construction principle with the arrangement of the four cylinders. The legendary vertical shaft motor by designer Ernst Fuhrmann also ends up in the Speedster in almost homeopathic doses - anyone who owns one in good condition today does not have to fear poverty in old age.

With the Porsche Speedster you leave out - against Surcharge

In those years, nobody could have guessed that the successor to the famous Porsche 356, the 911 that made its debut in 1964, would one day also be a Speedster. The recipe will be the same - shorter and flatter windshields, no triangular windows in the side windows, a lower seating position and a simpler hood. You can leave it out - for a surcharge.

Already in 1982, practically at the same time as the debut of the first 911 convertible, the SC, head of development Helmut Bott was thinking about a Speedster renaissance, but it will be another five years until the finished car celebrates its world premiere at the IAA 1987. In September 1988, the 911 Speedster went into series production in a narrow and a wide version. A total of 2,013 copies are built for the real freaks - 171 of them in the particularly rare narrow version.

911 Speedster with a modest 217 hp

The year 2000 is already half over when auto motor und sport has another appetite for a Porsche 911 Speedster. But where do you get it from? At that time, none of the leading Porscheans drove a Speedster. Norbert Haug, once master of the Mercedes Silver Arrows, has already sold his, as has ex-Porsche works driver Dieter Glemser. What about Yƶrn Pugmeister, formerly auto motor und sport man, later head of Porsche PR? His narrow Speedster, a one-off in the back without emergency seats and called the rabbit hutch in Porsche jargon because of the wooden panel installed there, is already gone.

Stefan Roser, then television coordinator for auto motor und sport tv, has another one. It is a broad, silver-gray with only 18,000 kilometers, the 3.2-liter six-cylinder with a catalytic converter and, from today's perspective, a rather modest 217 hp. With a price of 111,000 marks, the car is on the list - it is not for the poor, not least because you do without so much without need, more with pleasure.

The Boxster competing for comparison S, 15,000 marks cheaper, shows what the Speedster doesn't have: power steering, power windows, power seat adjustment, power top operation, padded top. The hood of the Speedster, which is even warned in the operating instructions because of 'adverse effects from drafts, wind noise or water ingress', can only be closed after several minutes of use. It can lead to broken fingernails, says owner Roser, Pugmeister remembers bruises.

When closed, the Speedster cuts a fine figure

No question about it, the Speedster looks most impressive when closed - from this point of view it was worth the handling. 'Attention, risk of injury', an enclosed printing unit warns the Speedster owner - before unhooking the protective cover, folding down the tailgate with its symmetrical humps, and lifting the convertible top by ten centimeters to relax. The work of art is still not completely finished, the side mirrors still have to be tightened by locking the underside of the convertible top and pressing on the top.

Open-Air-Festival

Fabric tops make almost every convertible beautiful, but with the Porsche 911 Speedster the result is stunning - the thick, shapely buttocks, the cloth cap, which is significantly lower than the normal convertible, is a feast for the eyes , especially from the back. It's a really big convertible cinema, accompanied by the unadulterated sawing tone of the old Carrera six-cylinder.

It is of course still air-cooled, and its exhaust gases leave the thick tailpipe without having first gone through a recording studio. The sound seems more metallic, especially in comparison with the Boxster, from today's point of view the start is far less wild than you felt it during your lifetime.

But as always in life, it depends on the direct comparison. The original Speedster from the 356 series was also supplied with the ladylike, 60 hp 1.6 liter boxer, and with it the 911 will not hesitate for long when accelerating. 'A Porsche has to shoot when you accelerate,' once saidCompany boss Ferry Porsche, and 6.3 seconds to 100 km /h is pretty much shot.

In 6.3 s to 100 km /h

The steering of the Porsche 911 Speedster is also from the old Porsche style, with high holding forces in the curve, but very good precision. You sit deep, deeper and surprisingly far better than in the Boxster set aside. Even the suspension is better, Speedster drivers like to do without a wind deflector. We got wild hairstyles and red heads, already at 80 km /h. If there is wind, says Stefan Roser, then it's right.

However, the most impressive thing about the 911 Speedster is not the wind, nor is its shapely rear end. It's the performance. At a Bonhams auction in Paris in February 2014, an 89 Speedster came under the hammer in condition one minus, silver-gray and wide. The hammer price is 310,500 euros. Awesome!

The Porsche Speedster in auto motor und sport , edition 19/1988

The strictly limited and already sold out Porsche Speedster, officially he even waived the number 911 is significant enough for a cover story. The author describes the driving experience in the Speedster as 'great', the body shape, where you missed the 911 monument a little, as 'stretched, somehow too wide and too flat'. The second main topic in the magazine is undoubtedly more widespread. The 'lower upper class' takes part in the comparison test. Alfa Romeo 164 V6, BMW 530i and Mercedes 300 E are fighting for points. The BMW wins.

At a glance: Porsche 911 Speedster

Six-cylinder boxer engine, two camshafts (chains), displacement 3,164 cm3 (95 x 74.4 mm), output 217 hp at 5,900 rpm, self-supporting body, front wishbones, torsion bar springs, rear semi-trailing arms, wheelbase 2272 mm. Construction period 1988 to 1993, 2013 copies, price (condition 2): 130,000 euros.

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