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I own a restoration shop and got my start 30+ years ago restoring VW and air cooled Porsches.  I migrated to muscle cars and have not done air cools in years.  I have built cobras, ferarri and lambo clones. Anyway, I've always wanted a 550. I ran across one for a good price. I have not bought it yet but would like to decide quickly before I miss it.  Can some of you experts take a look and advise who made this body/chassis. It had changed hands enough that the current owner does not know.  What you see is all he has, so I'd have to source windshield and windshield frame, trim, etc.

Thanks for your time.

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Beck or possibly a Thunder Ranch, though it doesn't have the flat steel plate down the center of the floor like my TR.

Go to Stoddard and Fibersteel and the Beck site and to Vintage Motorcars and look at the Spyder parts for an idea of what you'll have in it.

Looks like all you need are the lights, wiring harness, fuel tank, fuel cap, steering column, shaft, signal switch, steering wheel, gauges, pedals, switches, seats, shifter, an e-brake handle, e-brake cables, windscreen, mirrors, tonneau cover, fully-dressed engine, exhaust system, oil cooler, clutch, hydraulic and fuel lines, fuel pump, grill slats, marker plate light housing, shocks, battery and some plausible way to register it with state motor vehicle authorities as a car.

Oh and maybe a top and side curtains if that suits your style.

And paint. Probably someone will have to paint it.

If you can get the roller for under $3,000 you could, theoretically, finish ahead of this car, money-wise.

Last edited by edsnova
@edsnova posted:

If you can get the roller for under $3,000 you could, theoretically, finish ahead of this car, money-wise.

UNLESS you do all sorts of crazy detail stuff like Ed, then you'll be WAY behind the 8-ball, upside down or in the red!

Don't be like Ed.

Special Edition in Indiana or Greg at Vintage Motorcars Inc. in California are go-tos for Spyder parts. Everything else is just VW stuff.

I'll bet Carey Hines could tell you if this is a Beck from Upland, CA, or Brazil, or not a Beck at all.

Welcome and come back and ask questions, there are many knowledgeable guys here and on spyderclub.com.

The first thing I'd do is jack it up, put the trans in a forward gear, then turn the input shaft clockwise. Then you'll know if the ring gear was flipped to the driver's side...

Last edited by DannyP

Ed,

I can't get it for 3k.  Twice that plus shipping to get it here. It's midwest and I'm in SC.  I have owned a shop for years and built other cars, I'm well aware that this is missing nearly everything. My concern was after building lambo replicas if the parts required that are 550 specific were readily available from reputable sources.  I have a 40ft storage container that's like a time capsule from the late 80's early 90's full of air cooled stuff from when I did mostly air cools.  I have a couple of good running 2.0 914 engines, I don't know how many type 1's.  I think I still have a few 2.0 and 2.2 911 engines in there. 

If you have all that just laying around it’s probably a deal. These cars are easy and fun to put together. VW steering and pedal set can be used (usually). Good gauge sets are $700 from Beck. I think the Speedster windscreen setup is $800(?). The lights, mirrors, fuel filler and some other stuff is spendy but a lot of other stuff is optional. Since you’ve already built a bunch of cars you’re certainly more qualified to do this estimate than me—and most of us!

Ed, I don't know about being more qualified but I can tell you even after doing it 30 years. Double or triple what you budget and 2 to 3 times longer than you think.  I'm optimistic that most of it is VW. The headlights looked like Hellas that vw/porsche used during that period but didn't know because the angle of the 550 might have been different.

Thanks again.

@DannyP posted:

Jim, it's a LOT of work to get a 6 in a Spyder, especially if it has a torsion bar. That's why Thunder Ranch stretched the body and chassis for the six cylinder model.

I think about that TR 6 cyl chassis/body a lot, but not for the reasons you might think.

I can't stop wondering how hard it would be to add 2- 4" in the cockpit for those
missing links among us. It would have to be easier than adding it in the back.

@Vintage Motorcars Inc? @chines1?

IMHO, it ruins the proportions of the already compromised stretch we all drive.

The only way to get one would be to find a used or unfinished TR. I doubt either company has the interest to do it.

However, If Carey's front suspension could be adapted to a Spyder, the firewall/pedal cluster could move forward. Then you could lay your ape self down like in an open-wheel.

Thank you all for your input. Unfortunately I did not act quick enough and the 550 has a new owner that is not me.  I don't know if any of you are religious or not but one of my prayers occasionally is that doors are opened to the paths I should take and closed on the ones I should not.  I guess this particular path was not meant to be.  Build on guys, build on, thank you for your time.

@Bartman posted:

Thank you all for your input. Unfortunately I did not act quick enough and the 550 has a new owner that is not me.  I don't know if any of you are religious or not but one of my prayers occasionally is that doors are opened to the paths I should take and closed on the ones I should not.  I guess this particular path was not meant to be.  Build on guys, build on, thank you for your time.

That's kind of how I see it, too.  I don't look at it as missing a deal, I look at it as the universe saving me a headache.

Kind of a shame, sounds like you have the skills to make it happen. Not everyone does. But, FWIW, I'd take a WAG that there are 50-100 more semi-completed projects out there.

@dlearl476 posted:

That's kind of how I see it, too.  I don't look at it as missing a deal, I look at it as the universe saving me a headache.

Kind of a shame, sounds like you have the skills to make it happen. Not everyone does. But, FWIW, I'd take a WAG that there are 50-100 more semi-completed projects out there.

It has been a lot of years since I played with air cools.  There are a few I'd invest the time into: 550, 356, or perhaps a Hebmeuler replica.

@DannyP posted:

Jim, it's a LOT of work to get a 6 in a Spyder, especially if it has a torsion bar. That's why Thunder Ranch stretched the body and chassis for the six cylinder model.

Oooh, so THAT's why our favorite red head gearhead, Angela Lane, got that Thunder Ranch Spyder chassis. She did a pretty good job stuffing that dual-plug 911 motor in there!

Spyder engine

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  • Spyder engine
@Bartman posted:

Thank you all for your input. Unfortunately I did not act quick enough and the 550 has a new owner that is not me.  I don't know if any of you are religious or not but one of my prayers occasionally is that doors are opened to the paths I should take and closed on the ones I should not.  I guess this particular path was not meant to be.  Build on guys, build on, thank you for your time.

@Bartman looks like you already caught the Madness bug.  Would love to see  the future build. 😀. Happy search.

@MusbJim posted:

Oooh, so THAT's why our favorite red head gearhead, Angela Lane, got that Thunder Ranch Spyder chassis. She did a pretty good job stuffing that dual-plug 911 motor in there!

Spyder engine

Yes Jim. The 6 cylinder cars had no torsion tube, used coilovers and DeDion tube solid axle. See that big, fat silver tube? See the panhard bar from the tube to the driver's side shock tower?

That motor JUST fits, and had cooling issues until Angela built an air scoop underneath to get fresh air to the fan.

@DannyP posted:

Yes Jim. The 6 cylinder cars had no torsion tube, used coilovers and DeDion tube solid axle. See that big, fat silver tube? See the panhard bar from the tube to the driver's side shock tower?

That motor JUST fits, and had cooling issues until Angela built an air scoop underneath to get fresh air to the fan.

Well that pic makes me sad I didn't get the car!! That's nice, very nice.  I didn't think a 911 engine would fit, maybe that one is stretched a little.  I see the axles are on a slight angle forward which doesn't hurt anything.  I've seen other forums complain about that but as long as you stay within the spec of the CV, it doesn't care what plain it is in.

@chines1 posted:

Just saw this thread, sorry for the late reply.

What is pictured is certainly a copy of a Beck, as I can see all of the changes my father and Chuck made to the car are present, however it is NOT a Beck.  There are a few inconsistencies in the chassis that are done wrong and the body has no cloth backing and looks like either a poorly done hand lay up, or a chopper gun.

Thank you for taking time to look and reply.

@Robert M posted:

@Bartman Looks like you dodged a bullet. Sometimes procrastination can be a good thing.

Thanks.  I know how to build cars but no one knows the ins and outs of every segment.  I thought the car looked pretty accurate but that's why I joined and questioned because I wanted to know more before I invested a lot of TIME (and money, but you can make more money).  I'm in my 50's and I don't have that many builds left in me.  I hope a good many but certainly less than I have behind me.  I want to focus on builds that mean something to me.  Would I built a 550, you bet, but it would need to be the right deal.  Missing this will allow me to put more effort into my GT40 build.

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