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Convertibles from Porsche: Six decades with no roof

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The fun factor has been added to P orsche has always been written in capital letters. The first Porsche , the 356 No. 1 in 1948 renounced everything that is not needed for sporty driving. And that includes the roof.

US market largely determines convertible development

Last but not least, the requirements of the most important market ensure that convertibles at Porsche have always played a major role. The Porsche 356 Speedster, for example, was initially only built as an export version for the US market in 1954. It differs from the 356 Cabriolet with a low windshield, blind windows instead of crank windows and a fully retractable minimum hood. Before that, there was a small series of the American Roadster as early as 1952, of which around 15 were made at Glasses. The Speedster versions of the 356 were around 60 kilograms lighter than the coupes and were often used in races. The Porsche 550 Spyder, which gained notoriety worldwide after the fatal accident of actor James Dean in 1955.

Up until 1965 the Porsche 356 also built as a convertible. From 1963 the successor 911 was already available, which was initially only available as a coupé. The strict US safety regulations initially prevented the popular open version and made a significant revision of the 1973 coupé necessary with voluminous bumpers including the accordion impact absorber. The so-called G-model was built from 1973 to 1989.

Because of the safety regulations, convertible fans had to wait a long time for the 911 full convertible to arrive. An intermediate step was the Targa, which rolled off the production line in 1965. With the “Safety Cabriolet”, Porsche created a successful model that can still be found in the model range today. It wasn't until 20 years after the coupé that Porsche presented the convertible of the G model. The successor to the 964 series was launched in 1988 as a coupé, Targa and convertible offered. In 1993, a Speedster version limited to 930 units was added to the series.

The Boxster Coup in difficult times

The last air-cooled Porsche 911 Cabriolet of the 993 series was released 1993 was built. The new Boxster model series already announced the move away from the air-cooled engine. In 1996, the new Boxster appeared in difficult times for the company. But with the new entry-level model into the Porsche world, Porsche achieved the turnaround. The two-seater roadster cost from DM 79,500 (around 39,100 euros) and opened up new groups of buyers to Porsche.

One year after the Boxster, Porsche split 911 fans with the new 996 -year-old tradition of the air-cooled boxer engine. Above all, the noise emission regulations made the switch to water cooling necessary. On the other hand, the face of the 911 polarized strongly with its 'fried egg' eyes. It represents a clear stylistic departure from its predecessor and is also very similar to the Boxster. And many fans have always had a few problems with the Porsche models below the 911.

As with the 944, which was also available as a convertible between 1989 and 1991. Around 7,000 copies of the front-engined Porsches were converted to the open version at the Weinsberg bodyworks. To achieve the rigidity of the body, a second floor panel was welded in, among other things. The last expansion stage of the front-engined Porsche with four-cylinder drive based on the 924 is the 968, which was also available as a convertible from the start.

Porsche remains faithful to the fabric hood

As with its predecessors, Porsche inevitably remains faithful to the fabric hood in the 997 series introduced in 2004. A folding roof would hardly be possible with the rear engine construction. On the 997, the fully automatic convertible top opens or closes in 20 seconds. The 991 series convertible, which will be available from dealers from March 2012, should complete the task seven seconds faster.

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