Porsche to Revive the 550 Spyder; New 911 Pics and Specs

July 27th, 2011

Porsche 550 RS

“I can imagine that such a modern version of the famous ‘James Dean’ Porsche would be well-received by our customers. The new model will not be retro-styled.” Thus spake Matthias Mueller, Porsche’s CEO, confirming that a new version of the iconic 550 Spyder will be built.

James Dean, famous film actor in the 1950s, loved racing and prepared one of the 90 550s built. He was killed in a head-on collision (not his fault) on a California highway in September 1955. And his association with the car has become legendary.

But the 550 also had a great racing history (RS version above) and went through several evolutions, including the very successful RSK, and fathered many replicas.

All we really know about the new car is that it will probably share the proposed Audi R4 roadster platform and be midengine. Power is speculated to come from a 4-cylinder boxer engine that may also go into the Boxster and/or Cayman.

Price will likely be in $80,000 territory, according to most sources.

Porsche 911, frontAnd finally, after seeing many silly shrouded spy shots, we have some pics of the new 911 in the flesh. As you would expect, the design is evolutionary, nothing radical, though the interior may include a new “Panamera-style centre console, and new leather trims.” Front and rear ends have some new styling tweaks, which improve the car’s appearance.

911, rearStandard power comes from a 3.4-liter engine like that in the Boxster S but with 350 hp. A new direct injection system gives better fuel economy, the car has been lightened, and the Carrera S will offer 400 hp from its 3.8-liter engine. A new 7-speed manual and a revised PDK double-clutch automatic are reportedly beautiful performers.

So, of course, is the car as a whole. Making a good thing better is the rule at Porsche, after all. Says Autocar, the new 911 “is only the third all new design in the car’s incomparable 48 year history.”

Stay tuned for our take on reviews and road tests as they come in.

You just inherited $100,000. The 2011 base model 911 Carrera starts at $77,800. The new 2012 car will cost more. Would you go for the 2011?

—jgoods

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  1. Jim Redd
    | #1

    I just inherited $100K? No new Porsche for me. How about paying off my wife’s car loan and banking the rest?

  2. | #2

    @ Jim Redd
    Sounds like good thinking to me, Jim. Don’t know how much your wife owes, but maybe you could squeeze a used Cayman out of that $100K and still sock some $$$ away.

  3. Randy
    | #3

    It’s a very clean looking design. I think some recent 911 series have looked a bit “bloated” (a car writer might say “muscular) but this design looks lighter and more sporty. Should be a success but if I’m going to blow my inheritance on a car, it will be a Ferrari. (yes, for $100K a nice used one.) There are some nice 360 Spider convertibles and Modenas on dealfinder for around that price.

  1. | #1
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