The Porsche 911 Speedster Concept from last year has made production, and the finalised car has made its debut in New York. Limited to 1,948 units worldwide, the Speedster’s order books will open in May and is expected to reach dealers in late 2019.

Made to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Porsche building sports cars, the 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster is a very desirable car, even if you’re not a 911 diehard, and especially so if you are. Based on the previous generation “991.2” and not the latest 992, this future collectible is powered by a naturally-aspirated 4.0 litre flat-six with 502 hp and 470 Nm of torque, as found in the 911 GT3 and GT3 RS.

The motor revs till 9,000 rpm, and in this application, it has been enhanced with individual throttle bodies that make the throttle response even sharper, “just like in the 911 GT3 R race car,” Porsche says. Mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission, 0-96 km/h (0-60 mph) happens in just 3.8 seconds and top speed is 309 km/h.

Developed by the Porsche Motorsport department, the 911 Speedster is characterised by its low-cut front windshield and side windows, as well as the manually operated lightweight fabric top. The two streamliners atop the rear decklid made from carbon fibre is another design highlight rooted in the model’s history.

The interior focuses on the essentials of driving. Lightweight door panels with storage nets and door pulls emphasise weight reduction. The standard black leather interior can be supplemented with red stitching for the dashboard and “Speedster” logos on the headrests. With this option, the door pulls are also red, and the GT Sport steering wheel is decorated with a red centre marker. Carbon can be found on the trim, shift knob and door sill guards.

Those interior bits aren’t merely token measures. The car’s front luggage compartment lid, front fenders and rear decklid are all made from carbon fibre composite material, while the front and rear fasciae consist of polyurethane. Standard ceramic brakes (PCCB) and the manual fabric top (no automated operation, save for the electrically-operated latch to lock/unlock it) further shave weight. Air con is omitted, but can be refitted as a no-cost option.

There’s more. The six-speed manual gearbox saves about four kg (nine pounds) compared to the seven-speed manual transmission in the 911 Carrera, and almost 18 kg compared to a PDK dual-clutch automatic unit. All in, the 911 Speedster weighs just 1,465 kg.

The Speedster uses a chassis derived from the 911 GT3 models with a specifically-calibrated rear axle steering system and dynamic engine mounts. The wheels are 20-inch centre lock items.

As if this limited edition car isn’t special enough by itself, it comes with a unique Porsche Design 911 Speedster Chronograph watch. The high-performance flyback-chronograph with the in-house Werk 01.200 movement features Speedster specific design elements such as a carbon fibre dial and a rotor modelled after the Speedster centre lock wheel. Genuine Porsche interior leather and thread are also used for the perforated black leather.

The history of the Speedster began in the US in the 1950s. The forefather of Porsche Speedster models, the 356 1500 America Roadster, had an aluminium body manufactured entirely by hand. It weighed about 60 kg less than the 356 Coupe and its top track speed of 175 km/h with its 70 hp flat-four engine was impressive at the time.

Featuring slot-in curtain windows for the doors, a folding top and lightweight bucket seats, just 16 units of this US market special was built.

By 2010, eight different production and special models bearing the Speedster name had been created. The 356 A 1500 GS Carrera GT Speedster was a highlight in 1957, and the first 911 Speedster followed in 1988. Limited to just 356 units worldwide, the 911 Speedster of the 997 generation built in 2010 was the last model to be fitted with the name.