Speedster / Coupe experiences wanted

Hello All,

I am at the crossroad of either purchasing a Speedster or Replica 356 Coupe. The things I am considering are the overall function of the car in my SoCal environment. Pretty warm here with at an average of 5 months of hot temps. Minimal rain. I look at the Coupe (With a/c) as an all-weather car and the Speedster as a fair weather ride. The most important  parameter is driving enjoyment. A convertible is different for me and as my teenage son stated "Buy the Speedster, it is a different experience rather than driving around in the same old sedans". Definitely feel more confined in the coupe, but I really enjoy looking at it! The last and maybe least important is the value of each vehicle, which only comes into play when the kids are splitting up my humble estate. I feel like the Speedsters will hit their plateau but with the low production of the coupes and rising collector pricing, these will climb more rapidly in value. 

What I am looking for is some input of owners and their experiences that may get me off the fence, so to speak. The decision is mine, just want to hear your stories. I have been watching videos and interviews but I am still split. One video in particular with Jeff Zwart sliding his 53' around in the snow, grinning from ear to ear has my attention. That is where I want to be, just deciding which car will get me there. Opinions welcome!

Thanks for any Feedback,

Brian

Original Post

"Buy the Speedster, it is a different experience rather than driving around in the same old sedans".  Pretty much sums it up, but since there are so few of either tearing around, you'll get lots of attention whichever way you go.

I would love a coupe, because in New England they just make so much sense, plus....my lovely wife has severe Glaucoma and cannot take the wind buffeting her eyes.  We've got a pair of eye-gasketed sunglasses for her that work great and actually look pretty cool, but she still doesn't ride in my Speedster very much.  Another thing to consider is that most of the "sport" exhaust systems available now for Speedsters tend to be bit loud, so the noise in the cabin will be higher than a Speedster, although the Speedster has more wind noise.  Added to that is a bit more intake (carburetor) noise, because none of us have intake plenums which cut down the intake noise.

The last thing to consider (at least from me) is that, while the coupe windows are slightly larger than in a Speedster, you're still looking out through the windows of a small car.  Whenever I've been in a coupe I always miss not having a top down.

RE Intake noise: This is addressed fairly simply. CB turbo hats and 2" cone filters on the end of each hat. I had to get shorter velocity stacks as well. $130 for aluminum turbo hats, $10 for gaskets, and $25 for new 2" cone filters. I think I paid $20 for shorter velocity stacks.

Reduced my full throttle top-up decibel level from 107dB to 95dB on a Spyder. Part throttle cruise noise was also reduced. Game-changer for top-up with NO discernible performance change. The car went from deafening to tolerable(with noise-reduction earplugs). I would expect similar in a coupe if it turns out to be too loud.

Initially I added an after-muffler then realized it was intake not exhaust that was killing me.

If you've ever enjoyed the wind in your hair (or scalp, as the case may be) feeling of roaring around in a convertible, it's no contest. And being one of the (if not the) coolest convertibles in the world, the coupe just doesn't compare. Yeah, it's more practical and will extend the driving season somewhat, but this is the ultimate toy, so who the hell needs practical? You need to go for a ride in a Speedster. And don't worry about the kids having to deal with what to do with it, they'll figure it out. Get out and get a ride (and maybe even drive) a Speedster now!!!

The above opinion is that of the author only, is not sanctioned by the forum moderator, but if you disagree with me you're all Poopieheads anyway!

Gordon Nichols posted:

"Buy the Speedster, it is a different experience rather than driving around in the same old sedans".  Pretty much sums it up, but since there are so few of either tearing around, you'll get lots of attention whichever way you go.

I would love a coupe, because in New England they just make so much sense, plus....my lovely wife has severe Glaucoma and cannot take the wind buffeting her eyes.  We've got a pair of eye-gasketed sunglasses for her that work great and actually look pretty cool, but she still doesn't ride in my Speedster very much.  Another thing to consider is that most of the "sport" exhaust systems available now for Speedsters tend to be bit loud, so the noise in the cabin will be higher than a Speedster, although the Speedster has more wind noise.  Added to that is a bit more intake (carburetor) noise, because none of us have intake plenums which cut down the intake noise.

The last thing to consider (at least from me) is that, while the coupe windows are slightly larger than in a Speedster, you're still looking out through the windows of a small car.  Whenever I've been in a coupe I always miss not having a top down.

Thanks Gordon! The wife is certainly a consideration. Mine is thinking it will be fun, although she doesn't really like driving her car with the window down (?). I plan to Dynamat the whole car for what it is worth. Enjoy your car as much as possible.

Brian

ALB posted:

If you've ever enjoyed the wind in your hair (or scalp, as the case may be) feeling of roaring around in a convertible, it's no contest. And being one of the (if not the) coolest convertibles in the world, the coupe just doesn't compare. Yeah, it's more practical and will extend the driving season somewhat, but this is the ultimate toy, so who the hell needs practical? You need to go for a ride in a Speedster. And don't worry about the kids having to deal with what to do with it, they'll figure it out. Get out and get a ride (and maybe even drive) a Speedster now!!!

The above opinion is that of the author only, is not sanctioned by the forum moderator, but if you disagree with me you're all Poopieheads anyway!

That right ALB! Drove one and loved it. At that moment, it was 37 deg. But the adrenaline kept me warm.

Brian

Over and over I am reminded of the guy who buys a Speedster or Spyder for his wife or girl friend to enjoy with him.  Many quickly find that; it is noisy, it is windy, it is smelly, it vibrates a lot and it seems less and less fun.

They’re enthusiastic the first ride or two, but after that their enthusiasm quickly diminishes until you find yourself riding alone.   A lot.

I find less of that with coupes (less noisy, windy, smelly and more comfortable), but it is still there to some extent.

If you have never really owned a convertible which was my experience having owned a coupe.... 

then you have to really experience top down and coastal highways to get totally  hooked to the viewing nature and experiencing it and evening stat gazing in country roads is also very nice.

living in SoCal I am not sure why you would not want to experience it

Lastly my IM roadster has real AC so when it gets tooooo hot I put the top up and emjoy AC ... come to think of it I enjoy AC with the top down too at stop ligtts

I wanted a coupe and IM didn’t build them 

Fortunately I opted to try a converible 

now I could only own a coupe as a second car

Btw. Over 85 db your stapedius muscle in your middle ear which protects your hearing gets tired after about 20 minutes and you can get hearing loss...  just saying... so any noise reduction material is good and makes the drive more pleasant if not more tolerable 

Ill always remember meeting a speedster owner who used to drive with a WWI flighht hat goggles and at times ear plugs 

you get the picture

The only other help I could offer is get to ride one or at least ride a right seat for.a good while and better yet get to Carlisle or a west coast gathering and experience the cars ... the build quality of different manufacturers let alone the different options the owner chose can make life with a car more enjoyable

I always tell folks the same thing (coupe or otherwise), don’t buy this as a daily driver.  These are fair-weather toys based on 1950’s (or earlier) technology.  I wouldn’t rely on it to get me to work everyday, even in SoCal.

With that in mind, what do you want as a pleasure car.  For me, it’s driving in great weather with the top down.  You’re living in a great place for that!

The other factor is build quality.  There are only two builders I would I would buy from, Special Edition (Beck) and Intermeccanica and neither one make a coupe (although Special Edition is close).

Your mileage may vary.

Mine is thinking it will be fun, although she doesn't really like driving her car with the window down (?).

A true speedster just has side curtains - that aren't very stable with top down - guess you could go with Troy's 1/2 side widows - "cruizin windows".  You might want to consider replica with roll up side windows.  Except for the IM Speedster with roll up windows - the viewing are is 1/3 larger on a Roadster/Cabriolet).  Windshield is taller so more head room with a taller roof too (Important if you are over 6').

If she is like my wife - she demands making it safely home (not breaking down or spending hours repairing car) and being in NW FL - AC is plus.  There are areas in FL with no cell phone service and miles to next house. Have a '16 Mazda Miata - and she digs top down, windows up and AC or heat blasting.

An air cooled engine can be dependable - but generally AC is not handled very well and they are noisier than most are use to. Plus they take more maintenance and are smelly.  There are alternative engines though - many choose Subaru.  

New or used?  Recommend used til you decide if its for you (and wife).  There aren't many used coupes or makers of coupes out there.

Consider the blue used  $22k Envemo referenced in a thread here a couple weeks ago.  Put some $ ($1-3k) in it and if it doesn't work I'm sure you can do a quick flip.

 

Brian, by now you've seen some warnings about these not being what the civilized world considers 'normal' cars.

For me this is the biggest issue a prospective buyer needs to understand - much more significant than the difference between a Speedster and a coupe.

For the most part, we are the lunatic fringe who have decided to keep driving and maintaining these things long term. Most rational people, if they buy one at all, decide after a few months that this is nonsense up with which they shall not put. A lot of these cars find themselves on the resale market with very low mileage for just that reason.

By all means, find some cars that you can drive and talk to the owners at length about the whole ownership experience, and involve your wife in the process, too. Luckily, in SoCal, there are more Speedsters per square foot than anywhere else.

If you're that certain kind of lunatic, you'll have more fun in one of these cars than in anything else, but for many they're a little too close to what sports cars of the fifties were actually like.

 

Go rent the smallest rental car available and go on the most scenic drive you can think of near where you are now. When you're done go rent a convertible and take the same scenic drive. Compare the two experiences in terms of what you were able to see and what you enjoyed the most. That is what my Speedster is to me. It isn't about the noise, or the smell, but it's about the visual experience.

I too would like a coupe, if for no other reason than I like the way they look. But they are cramped in terms of visibility and in a replica I'd imagine it's a lot louder than the Speedster. I don't own a replica coupe and I haven't driven in one but I have been in an original and I couldn't see nearly as much as I do in My Speedster.

Yesterday I took a nice fall drive with temps in the mid 60's. On this drive I never even got out of third gear. I went way slower than I usually do just to make the drive longer time wise. My friend Teby wanted to know if something was wrong with the car and I said it was running fine. I just wanted to take in all the scenery on this drive and not drive the twisties like I was racing someone. One of the most beautiful drives I've ever taken.

And even though my wife wears scarves and hats to limit sun exposure she loves the top down driving the Speedster offers.

 

Robert M posted:

 

...I went way slower than I usually do just to make the drive longer...

...I just wanted to take in all the scenery on this drive and not drive the twisties like I was racing someone...

 I do this all the time, and it's the only car I've ever owned that makes me feel that way.

Fast is fun, but on the right road in the Speedster, slow can be fun, too.

There's a nice winding road that I drive a lot, between home and a town about 25 miles away. In any other car I go nuts getting stuck behind a slow car there. In the Speedster, I drop down a gear and just watch the trees float by overhead. It's all good.

 

Thank you all for the input. I would like to think I am keeping this next car for a good long time. As for most , it will be used on weekends and short runs to keep the car and me in working order. This opportunity, where the Speedster and Coupe are owned by the same person, offered a rare chance to experience both vehicles in a side by side comparison. I came away finding the ride in the Speedster to be more exhilarating for sure. The coupe,for me, is more visually appealing. Well, after another family vote, I contacted the owner and will be picking up the Speedster immediately after Thanksgiving. I know, "Welcome to the madness!" As soon as I take possession, I will be checking in to the Newbie forum and looking forward to meeting some of you owners in the near future.

Brian

 

"Yesterday I took a nice fall drive with temps in the mid 60's. On this drive I never even got out of third gear. I went way slower than I usually do just to make the drive longer time wise. My friend Teby wanted to know if something was wrong with the car and I said it was running fine. I just wanted to take in all the scenery on this drive and not drive the twisties like I was racing someone. One of the most beautiful drives I've ever taken."

Sounds very therapeutic to me which is what it should be.... dialing back to an older time and a more visceral experience, which really is plain old relaxing taking in all the creation can offer

IaM-Ray posted:

"Yesterday I took a nice fall drive with temps in the mid 60's. On this drive I never even got out of third gear. I went way slower than I usually do just to make the drive longer time wise. My friend Teby wanted to know if something was wrong with the car and I said it was running fine. I just wanted to take in all the scenery on this drive and not drive the twisties like I was racing someone. One of the most beautiful drives I've ever taken."

Sounds very therapeutic to me which is what it should be.... dialing back to an older time and a more visceral experience, which really is plain old relaxing taking in all the creation can offer

It is definitely therapeutic to slow down, take it all in. Most of us are in a hurry or focused on the end point and fail to embrace the journey. It is the journey, though, that is most interesting and can be quite entertainingr

Sacto Mitch posted:

There's a nice winding road that I drive a lot, between home and a town about 25 miles away. In any other car I go nuts getting stuck behind a slow car there. In the Speedster, I drop down a gear and just watch the trees float by overhead. It's all good.

I wish this could be me. I really do. But when I get stuck behind somebody driving 10 under on a 2 lane, or somebody hanging out in the left lane (governed trucks are the worst) at 1 over, my head splits in half-- in the speedster or not.

I feel truly blessed here in New England, since most of what we have are winding back roads that were originally cow paths so they meander a lot.  Lots of hills, too, to break things up and make it all more interesting.  From my driveway, I can be in a city (Boston or Providence) or at a quiet beach (New Hampshire or Lower Rhode Island) in about an hour, or I can go the other way and be in farm country in 5 minutes on roads where I seldom see another car.  This is where I go, in 3'rd or 4'th gear, depending on mood and road, top up or top down I just get out there.  It's a release for me.

These are the same roads that I ride on my bike, seldom worrying about traffic.  It becomes Zen-Like out there, pedaling away the miles and seeing the occasional deer or hawk or (most likely) renegade groups of Wild Turkeys while watching the forests change from season to season.  It's become quite the journey, but that's what life is all about, right?

Stan Galat posted:
Sacto Mitch posted:

There's a nice winding road that I drive a lot, between home and a town about 25 miles away. In any other car I go nuts getting stuck behind a slow car there. In the Speedster, I drop down a gear and just watch the trees float by overhead. It's all good.

I wish this could be me. I really do. But when I get stuck behind somebody driving 10 under on a 2 lane, or somebody hanging out in the left lane (governed trucks are the worst) at 1 over, my head splits in half-- in the speedster or not.

I’m like Stan.  I just hate to waste 3.6 liters of German blitzkreig horsepower when I am out in the Speedster (I’ve been watching a lot of WWII documentaries lately...) 🧐

And like Gordon, there are some fine twisty roads around here.

I figure the last drive I ever get on this earth will probably be in a very slow vehicle, and I won’t be in the driver’s seat.  

Carpe Diem Speedsteritis...

 

I don't know. Gordon might be right. It could be a dominant bike-riding gene that brings it on.

I know I worried a lot the first time I found myself driving slow in the Speedster.

I checked to see if I was wearing a white, patent leather belt. I asked myself if young girls had been holding doors open for me lately.

Then I thought it might be a California thing. Maybe the fish tacos in our diet.

 

Gordon Nichols posted:

I feel truly blessed here in New England, since most of what we have are winding back roads that were originally cow paths so they meander a lot.  Lots of hills, too, to break things up and make it all more interesting.  From my driveway, I can be in a city (Boston or Providence) or at a quiet beach (New Hampshire or Lower Rhode Island) in about an hour, or I can go the other way and be in farm country in 5 minutes on roads where I seldom see another car.  This is where I go, in 3'rd or 4'th gear, depending on mood and road, top up or top down I just get out there.  It's a release for me.

These are the same roads that I ride on my bike, seldom worrying about traffic.  It becomes Zen-Like out there, pedaling away the miles and seeing the occasional deer or hawk or (most likely) renegade groups of Wild Turkeys while watching the forests change from season to season.  It's become quite the journey, but that's what life is all about, right?

Gordon,

I am truly blessed to even have the Luxury of buying this car. With the kids growing up, it has been 15 years since I owned a classic car. I am in SoCal but eventually we will be moving East,  so hopefully I can enjoy the outdoors like you are currently doing. The reality of it is what once was an hour long trip to the beach is closer to two hours, due to traffic. Need to get more rural! It is great that you are using your car and enjoying life. Everyday is a treasure!

Brian

 

Where back east are you thinking, Brian?  There are a few of us in the Carolinas and nearby states.  Excellent mountains roads and scenery.  We'd love to have you join us next fall on our next mountain gathering even if you have to fly in - just to scout out retirement property, of course.  You also need to make sure that you get to Carlisle in May sometime.

Alan Merklin posted:

My Dad passed,  we were in the funeral procession my Mother in her  humorous wisdom blurted out,  " Well Charlie, you finally got to ride in a new Caddy"

This summer, my mom passed away in her 90’s.  She was cremated and we had a small family graveside service at a small cemetery in the boonies in Kansas (think scene from “Our Town”) a couple of hours after the main memorial service.  We drove out seperately and I was driving with my middle son Eric (some of you have met him) when the hearse passes us.  He says “she was cremated, why are they using a hearse?”  I responded, “that’s how they roll.  Were you expecting a Vette?”

After the service, I related this story to the funeral home guy and he said that he had done some in Vettes and I thought....hmm, maybe one last ride in Natalie specified in my will with some aggressive driving stipulated :-).

Tom Blankinship posted:
Alan Merklin posted:

My Dad passed,  we were in the funeral procession my Mother in her  humorous wisdom blurted out,  " Well Charlie, you finally got to ride in a new Caddy"

This summer, my mom passed away in her 90’s.  She was cremated and we had a small family graveside service at a small cemetery in the boonies in Kansas (think scene from “Our Town”) a couple of hours after the main memorial service.  We drove out seperately and I was driving with my middle son Eric (some of you have met him) when the hearse passes us.  He says “she was cremated, why are they using a hearse?”  I responded, “that’s how they roll.  Were you expecting a Vette?”

After the service, I related this story to the funeral home guy and he said that he had done some in Vettes and I thought....hmm, maybe one last ride in Natalie specified in my will with some aggressive driving stipulated :-).

Good story! On the same subject, in my Fathers last days, he said to me. "I cant believe I never owned a boat" something he had talked about very often. I really felt like I should allow myself to indulge because of life's uncertainty. Living within my means has brought my family were we are Today. Granted this isn't the barn find pre-A Coupe I have wanted, it is substantial enough to warm my soul and the family is just as excited too! I have worked with too many people who checked out at a young age. You truly have to treat each waking day as a treasure. .Ok, enough of the heavy stuff, gotta huge announcement to make on my next post.

Brian

 

 

Racerx posted:
Tom Blankinship posted:
Alan Merklin posted:

My Dad passed,  we were in the funeral procession my Mother in her  humorous wisdom blurted out,  " Well Charlie, you finally got to ride in a new Caddy"

This summer, my mom passed away in her 90’s.  She was cremated and we had a small family graveside service at a small cemetery in the boonies in Kansas (think scene from “Our Town”) a couple of hours after the main memorial service.  We drove out seperately and I was driving with my middle son Eric (some of you have met him) when the hearse passes us.  He says “she was cremated, why are they using a hearse?”  I responded, “that’s how they roll.  Were you expecting a Vette?”

After the service, I related this story to the funeral home guy and he said that he had done some in Vettes and I thought....hmm, maybe one last ride in Natalie specified in my will with some aggressive driving stipulated :-).

Good story! On the same subject, in my Fathers last days, he said to me. "I cant believe I never owned a boat" something he had talked about very often. I really felt like I should allow myself to indulge because of life's uncertainty. Living within my means has brought my family were we are Today. Granted this isn't the barn find pre-A Coupe I have wanted, it is substantial enough to warm my soul and the family is just as excited too! I have worked with too many people who checked out at a young age. You truly have to treat each waking day as a treasure. .Ok, enough of the heavy stuff, gotta huge announcement to make on my next post.

Brian

 

 

........because of life's uncertainty.

That is what brought many of us together with our coupes, Spyders, and Speedsters. I know it did for me.

Red alert!  Red alert! This morning my wife and I are eating breakfast and I am watching videos of one of the members here, driving his Speedster with his wife. There are some half windows in place, but it is still pretty breezy. I mention to her that line from Gordon's post about his wife becoming uninterested in his car and ask her again "Are you sure you are going to enjoy this?" just then another video starts showing a 356 Coupe and it's owner going for a quick ride to get gas. The wife starts taking interest. She had an uneasy look on her face and I knew she had a revelation. After that, it wasn't five minutes before I had the owner on the phone " Yah, have you sold the Coupe yet?" Turns out he was hoping I would change my mind because he really wanted to keep his Speedster. The JPS Coupe is mine now. Told the owner if he sees my phone # pop up again, don't pick up! This was my day off work, but I am exhausted. The owner is a super guy who inderstood what I was going through because he was feeling the same way, I suppose. He did see that the mechanics  on both of his cars were well sorted before worrying about anything else. Hope to meet many more like him. Again, I appreciate all those who took the time to participate and get me through this awesome dilemma. Is there room in here for Coupe owners?

Brian

Lane Anderson posted:

Where back east are you thinking, Brian?  There are a few of us in the Carolinas and nearby states.  Excellent mountains roads and scenery.  We'd love to have you join us next fall on our next mountain gathering even if you have to fly in - just to scout out retirement property, of course.  You also need to make sure that you get to Carlisle in May sometime.

Hey Lane,

My wife is from VA and with her Mother still back there at the time,  I was considering many areas along the Smoky mountains. Also casually looked at Gatlinburg before their huge fire. Now that my Mother in law is under my wife's care, I don't have any restrictions. Five years to go! Thanks for the invite, lotsa nice people back there indeed!

Brian 

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