Butzi Porsche’s 993 Speedster
356, G-body, 964, 997, 991. Random names and numbers to some, these are of course the generations and internal model codes for one of Porsche’s most revered product lines: Speedster.
This journey to what is arguably the ultimate expression of topless sports car began in 1952 with the 356 1500 America Roadster. Widely seen as the forefather of the Porsche Speedster, it flopped, incidentally, after costing more to make than sell, driving coach builder Heuer-Glaser to bankruptcy in the process.
Lessons were learned, with production moving in-house at Porsche, the Speedster now a cut-down version of the Cabriolet and running off the same production line as other 356s. In 1954, the Porsche Speedster as we know it was born, chiefly to boost the appeal of Stuttgart’s fledgling sports car company in the United States under the tutelage of importer Max Hoffman.
The Speedster enjoyed instant commercial success Stateside, and nearly 60 years later its name is synonymous among enthusiasts with embodying everything Porsche stands for: a raw, emotive drive, its genius lying chiefly with its simplicity. 356 Speedster production ended in 1958, replaced by the Convertible D, but that raked windscreen, low-slung profile and spartan interior would actually realise its place on the 911 some 30 years later.
Debuting on the 3.2 Carrera, the 911 Speedster then featured on the subsequent 964 generation. For the 993 though, a production Speedster was just not to be: with the 911’s profitability dwindling, such an exotic variant which would ultimately sell in small numbers was not deemed worthwhile by Porsche, which by the mid-Nineties was ploughing efforts into design of the first water-cooled 911 in the 996. It was a move which would ultimately save the company from going bust.
For the full feature on Butzi Porsche’s 993 Speedster, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 202 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.