A brief history of Porsche Speedsters

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Chopped-down, open-air Porsches are not a new thing, y’know…

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356 Speedster (1954)
It all came about when Porsche’s American importer convinced ze Germans there was a market for an open, stripped-out model costing less than US$3,000. And so in 1954 the 356 Speedster was born. It had the same body as the Cabriolet model, but a more steeply-raked windscreen and less equipment (less money for less car? Those were the days…).

The ultimate version - the 1957 356 A 1500 GS Carrera GT Speedster - was the first production Porsche to reach over 200km/h.

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G-Model 911 Speedster (1988)
The G-Model’s swansong. 2,103 were built in all, 161 with the narrow Carrera body and the rest with the Turbo’s wide-body. Like the 356, it too had a shortened, more angled windscreen and little equipment. A manual top was hidden under the body-coloured, plastic bubble behind the seats.

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964 Speedster (1992)
Just 930 of these were built - most with the narrow body. The 964 Speedster had no air conditioning, electric windows or airbags, but it did get specially-trimmed seats from the 911 Carrera RS and a top that was supposed to be easier to operate.

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993 Speedster (1995)
This is the one. Just two of these things exist. One was a green, narrow-bodied car with an auto’ gearbox built for Ferdinand Alexander Porsche himself. The other, a wide-body silver car with a manual gearbox (pictured) built for comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Plenty of people just built their own out of 993 Cabrios. Originals are no doubt worth a bit nowadays.

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997 Speedster (2010)
No Speedsters for the 996-generation 911, so it was 15 years between this thing and the two-off 993 of the mid-Nineties. Built to celebrate 25 years of Porsche’s Exclusive Manufaktur division, 356 were built (get it?) for a whopping €201,682 each.

(We had a quick drive in it... click HERE to read about it)

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991 Speedster (2019)
After months of concepts and teasers, the 991 911 Speedster is here. And it'll probably crack the S$1.134m mark in Singapore after COE and options – quite a bit more more than the 911 GT3 upon which it’s based. The last-ever 991-era 911 is effectively a GT3 Cabrio, with the wailing 4.0-litre six giving over 500hp and a manual gearbox.

(Click HERE to read about the new 991 Speedster)

STORY Tom Harrison

Author: TopGear
Top Gear is a British television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars, and is the most widely watched factual television programme in the world.