It was 75 years ago that Porsche registered its first sports car, an assuming 356 known as No. 1. To mark the anniversary, Porsche imagined what the 356 might look like if it were designed today. The result is the Vision 357 concept, first shown as a coupe in January and on Thursday revealed in speedster form.
Making its formal debut at this week’s 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K., the Vision 357 Speedster concept is a modern take on the 356 Speedster that was introduced in 1954 at the request of famous U.S. importer Max Hoffman. He also convinced Mercedes-Benz to build the 300SL.
Gone is the glass roof of the coupe, with only a windshield and a single headrest and roll bar for the driver projecting upward beyond the car’s shoulder line. A tonneau cover conceals the passenger side.
Inside, the cabin is completely pared back, with only the bare minimum of controls present and exposed carbon fiber lining most surfaces. A neat future is the digital instrument cluster which consists of a transparent panel, thus providing the driver with a clear view of the road ahead.
1955 Porsche 356 Speedster
Other interesting features include invisible taillights hidden beneath a mesh pattern milled into the body panel, retro wheels measuring 20 inches in diameter and made from magnesium, with carbon-fiber hubcaps helping to improve aerodynamic efficiency, and slender camera stalks instead of conventional side mirrors.
Unlike the coupe, which shares a platform and flat-6 engine with the 718 Cayman GT4 RS, the Vision 357 Speedster is an electric vehicle. It rides on the bones of the 718 GT4 e-Performance which was presented at last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and serves as a test bed for a planned electric 718 sports car due around 2025, as well as a potential racing version of that car. That means the concept has an electric motor powering each axle capable of delivering a maximum 1,073 hp combined.
Don’t look for a production version of either Vision 357 concept anytime soon. However, Porsche design chief Michael Mauer has hinted that certain elements may preview future design themes for upcoming production models, potentially including the electric 718 or even the next 911.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed runs from July 13-16. Porsche will also use the event to present the 718 Spyder RS and Mission X concept to the public for the first time.