The six-cylinder boxer engine was a concept originated by Dr. Porsche's nephew, Ferdinand Piech. Thanks in large part to Piech's engineering prowess, this aluminum-alloy, air-cooled engine remained a Porsche staple, developing and evolving while remaining true to many of its original design principles. By 1989 the engine had grown from its original 2 liters to 3.2 liters. Power increased proportionally, from 130 hp in 1963 to 231 hp (DIN) by 1989. Not unlike the engine, many facets of the 911's original design remained consistent-unit-body construction, rear-mounted engine, dry-sump lubrication, independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and excellent ergonomics, all enclosed by an aerodynamically effective fastback body. Popular Targa top and convertible versions were also offered by the early 1970s. The 1989 911 Carrera Speedster, with its steeply raked, low-cut windshield and cockpit cover, was inspired by the original four-cylinder 356 Speedsters produced in the '50s. With its stout 3.2-liter engine and its much improved G-50 transmission, 1989 Carrera Speedsters are likely the most collectible of the 1980s Porsche variants since only 2,065 examples were built in a single model year. Of this total production run, only 823 arrived in North America. The particular 911 Speedster offered here is notable for two key reasons: the car has covered only 1,260 miles since new and remains virtually in showroom condition, and it was custom factory ordered in Aquamarine Blue to match the standard color of the first owner's 1958 356 Speedster. This Turbo-look, wide-body Speedster also features an interior in gray leather and a complementing dark blue convertible top. Other optional equipment, according to the Porsche Cars certificate of authenticity, includes a Blaupunkt Charleston AM/FM stereo with cassette, cruise control and air conditioning. Other than a new factory battery and Michelin Pilot tires, this Porsche time-capsule car is exactly as it left the factory in 1989.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1989 Porsche Carrera
Years Produced:1989
Number Produced:2,065
Original List Price:$69,800 (base)
SCM Valuation:$34,000-$48,000
Tune Up Cost:$600 (includes valve adjustment)
Distributor Caps:$50
Chassis Number Location:Stamped in horizontal bulkhead aft of gas tank and on aluminum tag just aft of front bumper, both in front trunk
Engine Number Location:Stamped vertically on engine case on passenger side of engine cooling fan
Club Info:Porsche Club of America, 5530 Edgemont Drive, Alexandria, VA 22310
Alternatives:Mercedes-Benz 560SL, Corvette C4 ZR-1, Ferrari 348 ts

This striking 911 Speedster made $74,800, including commission, at the RM Amelia Island, Florida, auction, March 11, 2000. This Price Guide-busting result speaks to the superb condition of this car matched with a highly appreciative audience.

Even though only 2,065 1989 Speedsters were built, there are always a handful for sale. It is not unusual to have the factory wide-body option, as 1,894 were so ordered. The ultra-low mileage does make this example a bit unusual, but the vast majority of 911 Speedsters have covered under 10,000 miles as, unfortunately, most were bought for speculation rather than driving. The sophisticated color of this car is eye-catching, as most 911 Speedsters are Guards Red, black, Grand Prix White or Metallic Silver.

The chassis and all of the mechanicals are identical to any other 1989 911 Carrera, and that means quick and bullet-proof. The Speedster package shaves about ninety pounds off the weight of a coupe, but the Turbo-look option puts most of that weight back on. The top on a 911 Speedster, known for its poor wet-weather protection, is only meant for occasional use, so this is a car best saved for sunny day drives.

One of the principal reasons 911s have been so successful is the overwhelming practicality packaged with its performance. These are cars that can be driven to work without worry, and over time, the comfort and accessibility makes this a car that gets frequent use. The Speedster takes away a chunk of that practicality and as a result, whether in its 356, 911 Carrera or C2 version, it has never been a high-volume seller.

The 356 Speedster has risen atop the 356 value chain, and the 911 Speedster has as well. But for 911 Speedster owners, it’s been a bit of a wild ride. Many of these cars sold new for upwards of $100,000, yet today nice cars can still be found in the low $50,000 range. While the price made was way over our Price Guide numbers, remember our Price Guide assumes a #2 car, while this example enjoyed the 50%-100% premium often afforded a #1. – Jim Schrager

Comments are closed.