- Porsche is auctioning off what could be one of the last non-turbocharged 911 ever made to support the COVID19 Relief Efforts.
Coronavirus has initiated strange things in the world of cars.
Ford, General Motors, McLaren, and Tesla have converted their factories into outposts for the manufacture of medical equipment; Bentley holds cocktail hours for journalists, via Zoom; and Audi, Jaguar, and Mercedes-Benz have produced printable sketches of iconic models so that fans can paint them at home.
Now Porsche is auctioning off what may have been one of the last ever made non-turbocharged 911. In an online auction with RM Sotheby’s on April 15, the automaker will sell their last seventh-generation 911, a Speedster. This was the last 911 to roll off the production line as part of the highly popular generation known internally as “991,” which Porsche launched in 2011 and finished on Dec. 20, 2019. The car is sold at no reserve. All proceeds from the sale will support COVID-19 pandemic relief from the United Way Worldwide fund.
“This car is a significant part of our heritage,” said Klaus Zellmer, Porsche Cars North America’s president, and CEO, calling from his home in Atlanta, where he has worked since the Porsche offices closed there two and a half weeks ago. “With the last of something like this, you want to make sure it’s in the hands of a buyer who appreciates its beauty, so it’s a chance to sell more of our brand.
In 2018, a previous Porsche, the special 911 Turbo known as “Project Gold,” was taking $3.4 million in a charity auction. But in slightly different situations Zellmer was careful to balance pricing standards for this auction collection.
“My expectations are high, but let’s stay reasonable,” Zellmer said. “When we sold that Project Gold car it was a very different time, and that car was a completely different project. I hope we get a very good price on the [Speedster]. Let’s see what people do.”
For sale, the 911 Speedster is a two-door car with a flexible cloth roof. It is considered highly collectible because it is the last of the 991 series and the probable Porsche 911s swan song that uses naturally aspirated engines rather than turbocharged. (Porsche did not officially announce the end of its naturally aspired range.) The Speedsters are a limited-edition model that debuted with variants such as the 356 Carrera GT Speedster in the 1950s. These were sporadically manufactured over the following decades with examples such as the 1988 so-called 911 “G-Body” Speedster and the 2010 997 Speedster, limited to only 356 units worldwide.
The new edition premiered on a packed gala at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, as a design test in 2018. The event was attended by Porsche brass and renowned driving stars, culminating in the unveiling of a 70th-anniversary Speedster version finished in white and silver racing livery. Of these, Porsche made only 1,948, which had a starting price of $274,500.
For their naturally aspired engines (no turbo lag here!) and associated stick-shift transmissions, Porsche devotees drool over Speedsters; these old-fashioned accouterments are thought to give the purest type of driving that can be done in a modern vehicle.
Yes, whoever wins the GT Silver Metallic Speedster that is up for sale will find it plucky and fun to drive, as rough as a GT3 and unmistakable with its rounded humps on the back of the vehicle, sleek interior and very low roadster-body design. With an acceleration of 3.8 seconds zero to 60 mph and a top speed of 192 mph, the 502-horsepower Speedster sounds like a cannonball from behind the wheel: it is tightly built and quiet, with a fast-shifting, six-speed gearbox and a throaty engine roar.
The winning bid will also secure a Porsche Design wristwatch “911 Speedster Heritage Design Chronograph;” a letter certifying that the chassis number assigned to this car is indeed the last of the 991 cars produced; and a private tour of the Porsche Production Center and Test Track in Weissach, Germany.
“The Weissach engineers are very cautious when it comes to letting anyone in there. “But they were all in this special time for it. So it’s a kit that can’t normally buy money, but there’s a price to it in this case.