The Porsche Speedster is an icon nearly as old as the company itself. First introduced as a stripped back proto-sports-purpose version of the 356, the Speedster was the brainchild of importer and marketing genius Max Hoffman. Aiming to compete with the stripped back British roadsters of the era, Porsche removed interior trimmings and added a low removable windshield for motorsport purposes, even a tachometer was an optional add-on to get the price down below $3,000 in 1955. For decades the Speedster was indelibly linked to Porsche through the 356 line, but in 1989 Porsche flipped the script and made it a variant of the 911, which it has been ever since. The Speedster always brings the same sort of formula, pairing a low windshield and a somewhat awkward folding soft top with a 911 body, often with wider arches. Since then we’ve seen 964, 993, 997, and 991 generation variants of Speedster.
While earlier generations made do with standard Carrera powerplants, the 991-genearation car added GT3-levels of power to the concept and it really resonated with the market—selling out nearly instantly. It’s been a couple of years since that 991-generation Speedster was released, and it’s probably time for another one. According to Car Magazine over in the UK, the next Speedster will bow at the Los Angeles Auto Show this fall, with deliveries to customers expected in time for summer 2024. All of the usual styling cues will be incorporated, including the cut down windshield and stripped back GT3-esque interior. Think carbon and Alcantara and you’ve got the right idea. This time, however, Car Magazine indicates that the 992-generation Speedster will receive an electric retractable soft top, unlike the manually-operated speedsters of the past.
In the 991-generation the Speedster produced 502 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque from a GT3-sourced 4-liter naturally aspirated flat six engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. That was the only way you could get one, and it was made all the better for it. I’m not sure Porsche, or Speedster customers, will be content for the Speedster to remain with 502 horsepower, demanding ever more with each subsequent generation. While Car Magazine says the Speedster will stay with GT3 power and a manual transmission, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the next Speedster adapt the same 543 horsepower turbocharged powertrain from the much-lauded 911 Sport Classic. Now that would be something, wouldn’t it?