This is a 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Speedster, you may never have seen one before because just one was made by Paul Stephens and his team as a retrospective look back at the Porsche 550 Spyder.
This car was handbuilt on the platform of a 1988 Porsche 911 3.2 Targa and it’s said to weigh just 950 kgs (2,090 lbs), thanks to its lightweight construction and full aluminum body. The engine is producing 250 bhp, and so as you can imagine it’s a spirited performer.
The 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Speedster
- Paul Stephens is a highly regarded historic racing driver in Britain who famously learned to drive at 6, had his first car crash at 7, and first clocked 100mph at the age on 9 on the runway of a disused airfield. He raced a variety of vehicles including cars from Caterham, Marcos, Chevron, and of course, Porsche.
- Paul Stephens AutoArt launched in 2002 as a new business to build one-off bespoke restored Porsche 911s to the specification of each client. The company now has a global reputation, but they only build a handful of cars each year to maintain both quality and exclusivity.
- The car you see here started out as a 1988 Porsche 911 3.2 Targa, it was acquired by Paul Stephens in 2010 and rebuilt into the car you see here, called the Porsche 911 Carrera Speedster.
- The design is said to evoke the styling of the Porsche 550 Spyder from the 1950s and it’s probably safe to say that it looks better than Porsche’s own 911 Speedster which was released in 1989. This car is now being offered for sale on Car & Classic out of France on UK registration.
Paul Stephens AutoArt
The best way to describe Paul Stephens AutoArt is to relate the company to Singer, the famous California-based bespoke Porsche 911 company. This seems a little unfair however as Singer was founded in 2009 and Paul Stephens started in 2002, a full seven years prior.
Paul Stephens himself is a well-known historic racing driver in the UK who learned to drive at 6, had his first car crash at 7, and first clocked 100mph at the age on 9 on the runway of a disused airfield. He raced a variety of vehicles over his career including cars from Caterham, Marcos, Chevron, and of course, Porsche.
Stephens retired from historic racing in 2003 in order to focus on Paul Stephens AutoArt, however the world of motor racing has a way of drawing people back in, and in 2013 he returned to racing part time, with a third in class finish at the Spa Classic in a 911ST.
The Porsche 911 Carrera Speedster
The 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Speedster is a car that was never actually made by Porsche, though some may argue it should have been. The car started life as a relatively standard 1988 Porsche 911 3.2 Targa, not the best-loved of the 911 body styles, but in 2010 it was acquired by Paul Stephens and a full rebuild began.
The car was stripped back of all its external body panels as the two year rebuild got underway. New panels were hand-formed from aluminum, a major undertaking in and of itself, and a new rear cowl was created with distinctive double headrests. The new panels have backdated the car, as they say in the Porsche world, creating a vehicle that looks like it came from the 1960s rather than the impact bumper years of the 1970s and 1980s.
The original A and B-pillars were long gone, now replaced with an open air cockpit and a low-profile speedster windshield that wraps around the driver and passenger. The car rides on period correct Fuchs wheels shod with appropriate rubber, and the car is finished in silver with red stripes down either side.
Due to the open-air nature of the car, the dashboard has been finished in the same silver paint as the exterior, a touch reminiscent of the original 550 Spyder, and correct Spyder badging has been added inside and out.
A pair of small chromed rear view mirrors now adorn each side of the car, and a central mirror on a stalk rises up from the center of the dashboard, presumably to let you get a look at whoever you just overtook. Twin exhausts exit in the rear, and the engine lid has dual sets of louvers to help keep it cool.
Power is provided by the original 3.2 liter flat-six from the Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2, it’s one of the most highly regarded engines from the air-cooled 911 era and in this car it’s producing 250 bhp. Due to the fact that this is a 1988 911 it’s got the desirable Porsche G50 transaxle, a marked improvement over the earlier 915 transmission.
In the rear under the dual hump head rests you’ll find a pair of roll bars to protect the driver and occupant, it’s been constructed in such a way that it helps with chassis strength, helping the car remain rigid even during bouts of enthusiastic driving.
It’s worth noting that the engine has been given some subtle upgrades to boost power output, as the non-North American 911 Carrera originally made 234 bhp. This added power plus the featherlight 950 kg (2,090 lb) curb weight ensures that it’s an entertaining car to drive.
The car has now covered 13,000 miles since the restoration and rebuild, it’s due to roll across the auction block with Car & Classic out of France but it remains on its original UK registration. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Car & Classic
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.