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Car Tales: Stripped For Living, 1994 Porsche 911 Speedster

‘The history of the Porsche Speedster is fascinating.
‘It is really all down to one man: Max Hoffman, who in 1950 was the sole importer of Porsches into the USA. Hoffman was having success. But after difficult beginnings.
1994 Porsche 911 Speedster for sale
‘Born in Vienna in 1904 to a Catholic mother and Jewish father, Maximilian Edwin Hoffmann was forced to flee to France to escape the Nazis before emigrating to the US in 1941.

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‘In New York in 1947 Max Hoffman founded the ‘Hoffman Motor Company’ in order to import European cars. In the elegant surroundings of Park Avenue in Manhattan, he acquired a showroom designed by star architect Frank Lloyd Wright, extremely classy premises, perfect for extremely classy motor-cars.
1994 Porsche 911 Speedster side view
‘In autumn 1950, Ferry Porsche sat down to talk with Max Hoffman at the Paris Motor Show. Porsche knew huge sales potential existed on the other side of the Atlantic, but wondered how he would be able to gain a foothold in the land of unlimited possibilities. As it turned out, the meeting with Hoffman was to provide the ideal solution.
‘In his conversation with the car importer, Ferry Porsche expressed his desire to sell five Porsche 356 models a year in the USA. ‘If I can’t sell five cars a week, I’m not interested,’ was Hoffman’s answer. People in America were thinking bigger than their counterparts in post-war Germany. The first three Porsche 356 models were shipped to the USA that same year, with the total rising to 32 in 1951.
‘But Max Hoffman had a brainwave: he suggested to Ferry Porsche that he could do even better if he had a car that would compete with imported English sports cars and more exactly fit the needs of the American market. British cars like MG, Austin-Healey and Triumph dominated the American sports car market.
1994 Porsche 911 Speedster rear view
‘Max Hoffman was still convinced that cost was the major barrier to achieving significant penetration of the sportscar market in the USA. The basic 356 Coupe, for example, cost $300 more than the Jaguar XK120.
‘Porsche were keen to meet Max Hoffman’s requirements and came to a decision: a cut-down version of the 356 cabriolet which could be produced on the same production line as the other 356s. If they removed trimmings and weather protection they might be able to save weight as well as cost – after discussion between Porsche’s Albert Prinzling, the company’s commercial director, and Max Hoffman in New York the concept of the Speedster was born.
1994 Porsche 911 Speedster interior
‘Let’s fast-forward just over 70 years. Here at Beverly Hills Car Club we have a limited production 1994 Porsche 911 Speedster, one of just 469 produced for the US market – total production was only 936 units.
‘Featured with only 6,710 miles on the odometer and available in its factory color code #80K Guards Red with a black interior. The vehicle comes with a clean Carfax and is equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission, Flat 6 Cylinder 3.6-liter engine, automatic speed control, air conditioning, RS door panels, power windows, power steering, soft top, 4-wheel disc brakes, jack, and spare tire.
‘Both the color code and options sticker are still in place under the hood. Also included is the original owner’s manual and maintenance booklet with service stamps. This is an extremely low mileage, highly collectible, and well-taken care of Speedster.
‘Whereas the 1989 Speedster was primarily an aesthetic package, the 964 version – which is what we have – sought a happy medium between the regular Carrera 2 and the hardcore Carrera RS. It had the same engine as the base Carrera and didn’t have the same suspension as the RS. But thanks to a removable windshield and an interior stripped of all niceties, it fit the role of driver’s car quite precisely.
1994 Porsche 911 Speedster engine
‘This is the car that Andreas Preuninger, Porsche’s high-performance car manager, points to as being most representative of a proper 911 Speedster. The 964 mixed elements of the Carrera Cabriolet, the 3.2 Speedster before it and the 964 RS.
‘With the pared-back, lightweight interior of the RS – including the sports bucket seats, a stock 25th from its 3.6 liter engine and the same removable, raked and shorter windscreen of the 3.2.
‘Porsche had hoped to build 3,000, but in the end only 936 were made. All were narrow-bodied (the model never gained a full wide-body option like the previous generation), with the exception of about 20 examples ordered with Turbo-look wide bodies built by the Porsche Exclusive team.
‘If Preuninger points to it as being most representative in its technical make-up, so too is its appearance: with the 964’s flared bumpers, this Speedster is most visually relatable to its 356 relations.
-Alex Manos, Owner
1994 Porsche 911 Speedster buyer Alex Manos

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