Back in 1954, New Yorkers got their first look at the Porsche Speedster. It’s only appropriate, then, that the 2019 911 Speedster has also made its debut in the Big Apple.
Porsche unveiled the new Speedster at an event the night before the New York Auto Show, and then followed up at its press conference the next day, showing off the Heritage Design Package that’ll be available for the limited-edition Speedster.
Only 1,948 Speedsters will be sold worldwide, in honour of the company’s first production car, the 346, which debuted in 1948. Porsches were sold in the United States through Max Hoffman, a New York-based importer. He convinced the company that a racier-looking, lower-cost model would be popular with Americans, and the company responded with the 356 Speedster, with a lowered windshield and small folding top.
The new Speedster has incorporated that raked windshield and manually operated small roof, along with carbon-fibre “streamliners” on the deck lid. To reduce weight, the hood, front fenders, and deck lid are made from carbon-fibre composite material, and the front and rear fascias are polyurethane.
The weight loss continues in the interior, with lightweight door panels, and with the door sill guards, gearshift knob, and interior trim made of carbon fibre. The upholstery can be optioned with red dashboard stitching, and with “Speedster” embroidered in the head restraints.
The brakes are ceramic composite, which saves about 50 percent in weight over brakes with cast-iron rotors. To further shed any superfluous fat, the standard configuration is with no air conditioning, although it can be added as a no-charge option if desired. Overall, the Speedster weighs 1,465 kilograms.
Power comes from a naturally aspirated 4.0L flat-six engine, also used in the current 911 GT3 and GT3 RS, making 502 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 96 km/h happens in 3.8 seconds, with a top speed of 309 km/h. Only a GT Sport six-speed manual transmission will be available.
The optional Heritage Design Package includes 20-inch centre-lock wheels, white front bumper and fender “arrows”, gold Speedster badges, and classic-style Porsche crests. The racing-style door number stickers can be left off, but if you prefer your Speedster with them, you can specify the number you want. The interior has two-tone leather with the historic Porsche crest in the head restraints, and the seatbacks and interior trim are painted the colour of the car.
If you have the car, you need the accessories, and owners will be able to buy Porsche Chronograph watches, either as the 911 Speedster or 911 Speedster Heritage, which will include a carbon-fibre dial, and watchbands made from vehicle interior leather and thread.