In 1965, when Porsche 356 production ended, Porsche was in works developing the new 911 Targa for 1966. Nearly everyone wanted to know when Porsche would again produce an open air version of their new sports coupe. Looking to meet this demand, dealer and importer Johnny Von Neumann teamed with Italian design house Bertone to create a drop-top Porsche. In speaking with Porsche about this problem, Von Neumann was approved for release of a single chassis (# 13421).
The end result seemed something absolutely spectacular, with the new body looking much more fetching than anything that had come out of Porsche, or in fact Germany as a whole. The car was truly an Italian design, mimicking and improving on contemporary designs from competitors Lamborghini and Ferrari. Even the interior was "Italianized" with the standard gauges moved to the center stack, proper GT cruiser leather seats, the rear seat removed, and a legitimate center console added.
The agreement with Bertone was to produce a single chassis to test the feasibility of mass production for less than a showroom price of $8000 US Dollars. Once done, the car was prepared for the Geneva Auto Show, where it completely stole the stage. However, no one placed hard orders or gave any indication of actually purchasing one. The higher-ups at Porsche killed the deal, and Von Neumann was forced to concede that the Targa would be more practical for production at a much lower cost.
Originally displayed with Campagnolo wheels, and in a particularly fetching shade of Carmine Red, the Bertone special wowed crowds. When originally produced, the Spyder was equipped with the standard 911 two-liter flat six producing 130 hp. At some point, though, the car received an upgraded 901/02 “S” specification engine as well as a set of 914-6 Mahle “Gas Burner” alloy wheels. Sometime during its life it has been reupholstered with a saddle color leather and has been repainted in a lovely smooth black that complements its curves. While it has received several different sets of wheels, notably, steel 904 wheels, and a wide set of Fuchs, the car is most often shown wearing a perfect set of 914-6 Mahle "Gas-burner" wheels. This 911 Spyder is the only collaboration between Bertone and Porsche, and the sole example ever built. (flatsixes.com & goodingco.com)
(Photos from hemmings.com, flatsixes.com & allcarindex.com)