Porsche 911 Speedster Concept fascinates US audience

Tribute to a dream: 911 Speedster concept chronograph by Porsche Design

Porsche Design has created a special timepiece for the new 911 Speedster Concept: the ‘911 Speedster’ concept chronograph. Just like the vehicle, it is initially a one-off; subsequent production is currently under consideration. The chronograph case is made of a lightweight titanium. The matt-black dial – similar to the instrument cluster of the 911 Speedster Concept – is characterised by its excellent readability. Instead of a small second hand, a function display with ‘911 Speedster’ lettering positioned at 9 o’clock indicates that the movement is running. As a special gesture on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Porsche Sports Cars, the ‘70’ on the tachymeter is highlighted in a contrasting colour. The leather strap matches the interior of the concept vehicle and is made of identical types of leather.

The timepiece is powered by the first independently developed Porsche Design calibre, the Werk 01.200 with flyback function, load path optimised movement bridge and official COSC certification. The Swiss movement is the result of three years of development and state-of-the-art manufacturing methods. It combines engineering and watchmaking skill with the know-how from sports car construction, and impresses with precision, functionality and performance.

Looking back: Speedster models from Porsche made their debut 66 years ago

Various Speedster models have been part of Porsche company history since 1952. They combine open-top driving pleasure with outstanding driving dynamics. The forefather of these models is the 356 1500 America Roadster, whose aluminium body was manufactured by hand. It weighed 60 kilograms less than the 356 Coupé and its top speed of 175 km/h (108 mph) from its 70 hp flat-four engine was impressive at the time. The exclusive Sports Car, developed for the US market and built only 16 times, already featured key elements of the Speedster design with slot-in windows for the doors, a folding rain-cover top and lightweight bucket seats.

Porsche produced a significantly less expensive version in 1954, which also included ‘Speedster’ in the model name and quickly caused a sensation in the world of motorsports. For the first time, it combined the sheet steel body of the coupé with a flat windscreen, reduced interior equipment and a rain top. In the USA, the 356 1500 Speedster cost less than 3,000 dollars and became an instant hit in the sunny coastal states. Hollywood icon James Dean was also an enthusiastic racing driver and chose this purist model, which is dedicated solely to the sheer pleasure of driving. Other variants followed. The model reached its peak in 1957 with the 356 A 1500 GS Carrera GT Speedster.

It was not until 1988 that a Speedster variant was introduced in the 911 series, as the crowning highlight of the discontinued G-model generation. It was based on the air-cooled 3.2-litre six-cylinder engine with up to 231 hp and – unlike the 911 Speedster Clubsport concept car previously shown at the IAA in Frankfurt – featured a wide turbo look. At the same time, 161 units with a lean Carrera body were also produced. They were intended for export and are particularly prized by collectors today.

It is exactly the other way around with the successor model: Between 1992 and 1993, 930 units of the 911 Carrera 2 Speedster of the 964 generation rolled off the production line. In addition, there were 15 vehicles with wide turbo bodies, which are currently attracting top prices.

Even more rare is the opulent 911 Carrera Speedster based on the 993 series. Only two of this model were developed by the Porsche Exclusive department – for Ferdinand Alexander Porsche and an American collector. Customers didn’t get their hands on a Speedster version of the 911 again until 2010, when it debuted as a limited production run from Porsche Exclusive based on the 997 model generation. The Sports Car with the shortened windscreen was produced in a strictly limited edition of 356 units.