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Lot 840

1989 Porsche 911 Speedster

  • Chassis no. WP0EB0912KS173103

Sold for $77,000

Custom-built turbocharged and intercooled 3.5-liter flat-six engine, fuel injection, five-speed manual gearbox, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 89.4"

The original 1954–1959 Porsche 356 Speedster, engineered for the youth market, generated a buzz that continues to this day. It took some 30 years for the concept to resurface, this time based on the 911, and like its predecessor, the new 911 Speedster would lead its marque’s revitalization in the marketplace.

While Porsche went from strength to strength through the mid-1980s with countless racing victories and robust sales numbers, a somewhat aging product lineup and the painful late-1980s economic recession conspired to drastically reduce sales. The company’s crucial U.S. marketplace was particularly hard-hit, with a new luxury tax as well. In response, Porsche launched the 911 Speedster model for 1989, which harkened back to the elemental and relatively economical 356 Speedster of the 1950s, which injected a shot of adrenaline into Porsche sales, as Porsche importer Max Hoffmann expected when it was introduced.

Launched at Frankfurt in 1988, alongside the Carrera 4, the 911 Carrera Speedster was the unqualified hit of the show with its steeply raked, low-cut windshield and cockpit tonneau cover. Production Speedsters were, in fact, somewhat less Spartan than the Frankfurt prototype, with a taller windscreen and roll-up windows. The convertible top was manually-operated and simpler than that of the 911 Cabriolet, with no headliner and thinner insulation used, allowing storage underneath a sleek “double-hump” fiberglass cover, which recalled the headrest fairings used on the circa-1950s sports-racers of Porsche and its archrivals.

Production of the new-generation Speedster was delayed until 1989, and the construction of only 2,100 Speedsters was planned from the outset. All Speedsters were equipped with the Turbo-specification chassis and competition-style brakes with cross-drilled discs and four-piston calipers. The majority of Speedsters were also equipped with Porsche’s striking “Turbo Look” bodywork, but this feature was omitted from 159 examples. In addition, the Speedster was the last Porsche model produced at the old factory in Stuttgart, and this factor, along with the 1989 Speedster’s rakish lines, limited production, and one-year-only model status, virtually guaranteed its collectability from the outset.

With approximately 4,200 indicated miles, this very special 1989 Speedster is one of only 823 examples destined for the U.S. market, and as offered today, it is even more spectacular than when new. In 1992, Mr. Dingman submitted it, along with his 1992 America Roadster, to San Diego, California’s AJ-USA, Inc., for conversion to an all-out turbocharged-specification, with virtually no expense spared in the process. All told, about $38,000 were invested in the engine alone, adding to its substantial $111,000 purchase price.

While already a hugely capable performance car, the Speedster was fitted with a custom-built, turbocharged and intercooled, dual-plug 3.5-liter flat-six, and the rest of the car’s systems were thoroughly upgraded to match. To provide optimum performance and proper packaging, the plumbing for the K-28 turbocharger installation was custom-fabricated, and the intake system was optimized to minimize turbo lag. The engine, transmission, and exhaust mounts were either augmented or replaced with custom-fabricated parts to minimize vibration and torque-induced motion, proof positive of AJ-USA, Inc.,’s thoroughly engineered conversion work on the car.

Suspension upgrades included the installation of front and rear Carrera RSR shock absorbers, “gun-drilled” front and rear torsion bars, uprated front and rear stabilizer bars, Turbo-type tie-rod ends, and a complete wheel alignment. Brake upgrades included the addition of Carrera 2 Turbo calipers, front and rear, with custom-fabricated adapters, rotors, mounting hats, and lines, plus carbon brake pads. Front and rear brake-cooling ducts were fitted as well. America Roadster-spec wheels and tires were installed at a cost of $7,200 alone. Other items include a padded and leather-covered custom-fabricated roll bar, a blueprinted gearshift assembly with a short-throw kit, Turbo side view mirrors, and a boost-pressure gauge round out the comprehensive modifications. In the rare occasion that the turbocharged engine sounds are not enough, the car is also equipped with a Blaupunkt CD stereo system. An assault to all senses, this expertly-built 911 Speedster is a rare and modern Porsche icon with turbo-specification upgrades that have rendered it a true supercar.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more