The Speedster name can be traced back to 1954, when New York based Porsche importer Max Hoffman advised the company that a lower-cost, somewhat spartan open-top version of the 356 could sell well in the American market. With its low, raked windscreen which could be removed for weekend racing, bucket seats and minimal folding top, the 356 Speedster was an instant hit, especially in sunny Southern California.
The Speedster name was revived when Porsche launched the 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster in 1989 as a one year special, which happened to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the 911. The Speedster ended up being the last rear drive model produced on the Carrera platform of the eighties.
The “new” Speedster continued the design attributes of the 356 speedster including a 5 degree steeper raked frameless windshield, a two-seat configuration, a manual transmission, manual winding windows, and an incidental, manually operated, single lined roll-away roof that stowed neatly under the double-bubble rear tonneau cover. In fact, Porsche made customers acknowledge that the roof was merely for weather protection only! The waiving of creature comforts led to a weight saving of 70kg over the standard car, allowing it to tip the scales at only 1,220kg.
Despite the strong sales demand, only a total of 2,104 911 3.2 Carrera Speedsters were produced between January 1989 and July 1989. Of these, 171 were in the narrow body style, with the rest in the “M491” Turbo-look widebody configuration which you see here. Besides wider arches, these also came with uprated brakes. A total of only 139 examples in both body styles were produced in right hand drive.
The pristine right hand drive, wide body optioned example you see here in Grand Prix white is 1 of only 2 units in Singapore. It has only covered 67,000km in the last 32 years. Aside from the minor ageing of the leather, which actually adds to the authenticity of a well loved 911, the interior is in amazing nick.
The air-cooled flat 6 went through a complete overhaul just a year ago and the crisp throttle response and effortless torque is testament to that. The noise it emits is the perfect accompaniment to the wind in your hair from the 3 inch lower windscreen.
Shift action from the G50 gearbox is truly satisfying, and clutch take up is positive and well weighted. The steering is typical air-cooled 911 – well weighted and full of feel. The absence of power assistance is hardly missed, besides maybe during very tight parking manoeuvres. But the location of the engine out back means there is never too much heft in the tiller even at parking speeds.