I'm an aging Baby Boomer who owned a real '57 Speedster that I bought for $1500 in Denver in 1965 when I was 20. I absolutely loved it. Had to sell it 2 years later for $800 when the upkeep was breaking my college student budget. Never expected the value to go nuts decades later, but realistically, I couldn't keep it under the circumstances.

I never stopped loving the car, and seeing Speedsters in various movies like Top Gun and Doc Hollywood has only raised my angst. Got the hall pass yesterday from my wife of 54 years to see about having one built. Chanced onto this forum and am hoping some of you could give me insights into how to proceed. Any advice would be appreciated. Not after anything more than a basic vehicle I can drive. Interested in reputable builders, approximate costs, etc.

Original Post

I don't think you'll get a new build for less than $35k.  There are some really nice used one currently available.  Terry N's "Penny" on BaT (ends today), Theron's IM "D" with windup windows, and Dave B's CMC with hard top.  All are honest $30k cars --- with no year wait or titling issues.

My advice would be that it is better to buy  a well sorted, carefully maintained used one for less money, than having one built.

Lots of good ones available.  Let someone else have the fun of sorting out all the issues.

Last edited by Bob: IM S6

Thanks, Wolfgang.  The long wait was not something I would like to do, considering my age and the clock ticking. But I've read about some bad early builds on shortened VW frames  and thought getting a good builder would at least guarantee a decent vehicle. I expected about $35k, but wouldn't want to go much beyond that. 

What are the titling issues that could arise?

Bob,  Thanks for the reply. If I were to look for the vehicle you describe, how could I feel confident it has those qualities? Seems like a daunting task to me.

There's nothing wrong with an older pan build if it was done properly, and you just might find what you're looking for at a surprising price. Lots of people here that can guide you through this.  I'm somewhat limited here as I'm on a laptop at the moment  (which I hate typing on). Al

@Steve C posted:

I'm an aging Baby Boomer who owned a real '57 Speedster that I bought for $1500 in Denver in 1965 when I was 20. I absolutely loved it. Had to sell it 2 years later for $800 when the upkeep was breaking my college student budget. Never expected the value to go nuts decades later, but realistically, I couldn't keep it under the circumstances.

I never stopped loving the car, and seeing Speedsters in various movies like Top Gun and Doc Hollywood has only raised my angst. Got the hall pass yesterday from my wife of 54 years to see about having one built. Chanced onto this forum and am hoping some of you could give me insights into how to proceed. Any advice would be appreciated. Not after anything more than a basic vehicle I can drive. Interested in reputable builders, approximate costs, etc.

Your story sounds familiar here as a student the cost of the upkeep was out of this world. 

Hope you find one, and IM with roll up windows, and a solid top is a nice speedster if you have a lot of inclement weather.

Last edited by IaM-Ray

So issue on registration/titling is that each state (and country) is different.  A VW pan based replica is usually easier - but then some states say it no longer looks like a VW so they nix that.  Some have registered as a '57 Speedster - well it isn't and never will be.  Some have been burnt by this since it could get taxed as a '57 Speedster (which is upwards of $159k!).  Getting an old air cooled engined car register with a recent build date can doom one to never getting it to pass emissions testing.  Some get a salvage title.  Some are hot-rod or specialty construction registered which works fine for that state but may not work in another.  Some states say an antique is 25 years old other (FL) say 30.  Some states (GA/AL?) don't even issue titles for cars over x years old - so hard to transfer to a state that requires a title.  Some states like TX don't want any dune buggies or replicas at all.  Some states require DOT approved lights not TIAWAN stamped lenses.

Europe imposes front head light heights which OEM based replica bodies don't meet.  Some require external gas filling (UK).  I bet the German TUV has strong feelings against Chinese wheel adapters.

Even a pan based car not professionally (as in done well) is not bad as they all seem to use a very substantial steel subframe.  If pan was from a wreck (bent) or not welded flat/square then that could be issue.  Restoring an old speedster is not difficult as all use repro parts - so IM doesn't need IM parts nor a CMC CMC parts.  The replica parts vary in quality/price - all prices are going up.  Chinese replica VDO gauges (tachs and speedos) were so bad that BECK SE worked to get US made replica gauges built - even making the speedo GPS based (a big plus).  There are quirks - as Alan pointed out a VS/VM top takes a VS top frame for easy installation. Side curtains for one car probably won't fit another car.

bare frame

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Last edited by WOLFGANG

That is really valuable info. Colorado has a tough emissions standards, so I'd better find out about build date. And no way I want to get registered as a Speedster. Thanks. So glad I found this forum.

It would really be hard to go wrong with Theron's red Intermeccanica.  It's on a tube frame with roll-up windows and is priced right.  If you want something a bit more outlaw-is, David Bayne has a tube-framed CMC that is in wonderful shape and has the extra bonus of a fitted hardtop.  Troy Sloan also has a car or two for sale right now.  Alan Merklin has one that he working on for resale as well (is it done yet, Alan?).  All four of these guys can be trusted not to screw you over.

Hi Steve,

Since we were both born in 1945, I feel a connection to your quest.  Lane's advice above is spot on.  My suggestion is to contact the guys he mentions and buy a well-sorted replica that will hold no surprises.  Time's marching on, bud.  Time to start driving before we need a chaperone as a right-seater.

There are 54 registered members in Colorado which is where your profile says you are from. If 54 other people have a variety of Speedsters registered there you should be able to get one registered there. 

Here’s a post from the Cobra Club in Colorado about registering reproductions. https://www.milehicobraclub.com/askdrcobra.php

Here's another article from SEMA https://www.semasan.com/legisl...-car-bill-signed-law

And from the Colorado Dept of Motor Vehicles https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dmv/gas-vehicles

According to the CO DMV kit cars are exempt from emissions.

Contact your local Cobra Club since those are all considered kit cars  

 

Steve; you came to the right place. I became a member of this site back in the early 2000's before I ordered a build from Vintage Speedsters in 2004, that I still own and enjoy today. The comments above are right on; it takes years to tweak the car to your tastes and to iron out the bugs in some (as I have done on mine, repeatedly). If you find a car for sale that you like from one of the folks in this page and it's in your price range I say go for it. Members here are great folks and you can trust them without reservations plus you'll benefit from the fact that they've sorted out the car.

Thanks so much to all of you for being so generous with your time responding to a full-fledged replica rookie. It will take me some time to absorb all this info, but you all have immeasurably helpful. I'm feeling much more confident I won't make a big mistake.

Steve,
The hard part is knowing what questions to ask.  You can private message me for my phone number if you would like. I don't mind filling you in on what's-what, even if you don't buy a car from me.  
-=theron

Steve, you've come to the right place to find a car.  I found this forum only after I bought a car. I knew the car would need some work but with the help found here I was able to do all the work myself.  I now have the car the way that I need it  to be for where I live and drive.

Good luck in your search and "Welcome to the madness" !

Steve,

I am a few years beyond you. I suggest you contact Greg Leach at Vintage Motorcars of Ca. He sometimes has used Speedsters available. I went the have-one-built route last year. It took about three months and everything went smoothly. Mine ended up around 40K, but i did add extras and got exactly what I wanted. Try to drive one before you purchase. They are very basic cars. I am old enough to remember what that was like, and still enjoy it. I have had a 356 SC coupe since 1974. It is smoother, but a little less powerful since I opter for a 2332cc/145HP engine. Good luck in your search!

Jim Ruiz

310-670-2623

Westchester, CA 90045

 

 

 

Jim,  Thanks for the insight. Very helpful. Lucky you hanging onto your early 356.  At my age, I'm not looking for power. Within the first 6 months I owned my Speedster in 1965 I came one point from losing my Colorado license for speeding (and it was only a 1500). I'd like to think I'm a bit more mature now, but don't need the temptation of lots of horses (plus tickets are a lot pricier now) .

Steve,

My speeding days are long behind me. Greg calls the engine I got the Torque Monster. That it has. Nice for around town driving, and plenty left in 4th even at 70MPH. It reminds me of my 1954 Jag XK 120M roadster. Try to get some test drives with different engine sizes to see which works best for you.

Jim

@jprpdr posted:

Steve,

My speeding days are long behind me. Greg calls the engine I got the Torque Monster. That it has. Nice for around town driving, and plenty left in 4th even at 70MPH. It reminds me of my 1954 Jag XK 120M roadster. Try to get some test drives with different engine sizes to see which works best for you.

Jim

Absolutely. For street use; which is what 99% of us do torque is all you need. 😉

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