A pared-back and pumped-up Porsche 911 is the emotional new hero car for the German sports car brand.
The 2019 Speedster is already a sell-out in Australia, even though Porsche has yet to reveal the pricing or delivery dates for the open-air road rocket.
Appealing to Porsche purists, it picks up the engine from the howling GT3 and only comes with an old-school six-speed manual gearbox.
It’s the latest in a series of lightweight cars that goes back to the 1950s, when Porsche owners – including James Dean – often took their daily drivers into weekend road racing.
Things have mellowed since them, but not the appeal of the Speedster with its signature double-hump cover behind the front seats.
Less than 100 cars will come to Australia, although Porsche is playing coy on details.
“We don’t reveal those numbers, but not many at all. We already have more expressions of interest than cars,” the spokesman for Porsche Cars Australia, Chris Jordan, reveals to Australian Business Traveller.
There have been eight generations of the Porsche Speedster tracking back to 1952 and the first 911 to wear the tag came in 1988. The most-recent Speedster was in 2010, when only 356 cars were built.
“Australian deliveries were in single figures,” Jordan recalls. “It will be slightly more this time but still very rare.”
The new-generation Speedster follows a concept car produced for Porsche’s 70th anniversary last year. In a major departure, it is the first Speedster to be built by Porsche’s famed Motorsport division.
Apart from the engine and gearbox, the big difference in the Speedster is the cut-down bodywork and its lightweight construction.
Its convertible body has a low-cut windscreen and side windows, with a manual folding lightweight roof and a carbon fibre ’streamliner’ panel behind the seats. Carbon fibre is used for the bonnet, boot and front guards, the ceramic-composite brakes are 50 per cent lighter than steel, and light-weighting work continues inside the car, with door pulls - not handles - and carbon fibre trim.
Air-conditioning is deleted, although can be added for hot-weather work.
But Porsche has one other surprise, as it has created a special watch to match the 911 Speedster and this, too, has a carbon fibre dial with a strap made from the same leather used in the car’s cabin.