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Monday, September 21, 2015

The 1989 Porsche Speedster is a Beauty, 30 Years in the Making

BOLD RIDE

 
1989-porsche-911-speedster-front

Over the years, Porsche has been responsible for a truly vast swathe of iconic cars, but if one were to stand above the rest, it’d have to be the 356 Speedster
 
The eye-catching Speedster first came to life in 1954, initiated at the behest of U.S. Porsche importer Max Hoffman, who desired a stripped-out, less expensive, driver’s car. And what a car Porsche delivered.

The ’54 to ’57 356 Speedster was priced below $3,000, featured minimal standard equipment, and boasted a raked, chopped, and removable windshield. Fans adored them, but it didn’t keep the body style from disappearing. It would take three decades before it returned again, but when it did, it was a looker. And this is it.

1989-porsche-911-speedster-side

The stunning Porsche 911 Carrera Speedster debuted in 1989 as a one-year special, incidentally also marking the 911’s 25th anniversary. Like its famous namesake, the 911 Speedster toted a frameless, raked windshield which could be removed for more spirited track driving.

 At the rear, a svelte dual hump tonneau cover replaced the back seats, and to the driver’s right and left were roll-up windows. While you’ll see most Speedsters with the top down, a thin “emergency” cloth top was included.

Contrary to original form, these new Speedsters weren’t cheap—the 1989 models sold for around $65,000. Nevertheless, just over 2,000 were built, both in narrow and Turbo-look widebody configurations, and a tad over 800 of those came to North American shores.



1989-porsche-911-speedster-rear

Though the Speedster bloodline had remained stagnant for three decades, it certainly wasn’t forgotten. In 1983, Porsche engineer Helmuth Bott crafted a Speedster prototype from a 911 body. Three years later, Porsche President Peter Schutz green-lit development on another prototype.

It was the 1989 Speedster that finally saw the light of day, and it welcomed it with a blast of 215 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque from its 3.2-liter Carrera flat-six.

Expectedly, many of these cars were immediately squirreled away in collections and few trade on the open market. This Guards Red example recent did however on eBay, and it’s a stunning reminder of one of Porsche’s best kept lineages.

Photo Credit: Paul Motor Co.