2011 Boxster Spyder
Some cars are intentional collectibles, built in limited numbers and meant to be stashed away until they show up at a Bonhams auction thirty years out. The new 911 Speedster is like that. The Boxster Spyder is not -- hey, they'll build as many as we care to buy. But I suspect that the Spyder will become an unintentional collector's item, one of those cars that's misunderstood in its own time and fully appreciated only through the lens of history.
Because, on the face of it, the Boxster S makes far more sense. The S cedes very little performance to gain a lot of usability -- power top, comfy seats, more forgiveness in the suspension. The Spyder, then, is a litmus test for your automotive priorities: are you willing to cram yourself into that fixed-rake, carbon-fiber mop-bucket of a seat and wrestle with that Ikea build-it-yourself roof merely to ditch 176 pounds in the name of Zen driving purity? I suspect that a fair percentage of Spyders will return to the dealer with a couple thousand miles on the odometer after the original owners concede defeat.
Most companies would have a pretty hard time drawing a comparison between anything from the '50s and the cars they make now. But in spirit, it's not hard to see the principles of the '58 Speedster -- and the '73 Targa and '87 911 Cab-alive and well in the Spyder: a raspy engine behind you, the sun overhead, light weight, direct controls. It was a fine formula sixty years ago. It still is today.
Back at the dawn of its U.S. introduction, Porsche played its own game, charging big money for cars that prioritized feel and agility over outright power. The Boxster Spyder sticks to the same recipe as the 356 Speedster-maybe it's not the outright fastest thing you can buy for the money, but damn if it doesn't feel great to have that wheel in your hands.