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Hello everyone! Like many of you here, I count the 356 Speedster as one of the most beautiful and purest cars ever made. The Porsche 550 being among that list as well. I moved to Miami circa 2002, I remember seeing 356  Speedster cars between $50k and 70k USD for driver's quality cars. Nicer examples and original examples were double that price or so. 

I recently saw a black Speedster listed. When I inquired as to the price, I was disheartened, as the price was a bit north of $300k USD. 

At any rate, I love replicas too. I think that of all the rep cars made, some of the 356 Speedster cars are extremely close in looks and perhaps the driving experience as one can get. Some deviate by a large margin and far surpass the original cars, that's okay too of course! 

Was the gap between a high end rep and a driver's quality original 356 Speedster always so wide in price ?? 

My wife and I are looking at homes now, I asked her if we should buy a smaller, less expensive home, and acquire a 356 Speedster, she thinks that's a splendid idea. She too is a car nut. Though she leans toward American muscle cars herself. I'm not sure if that will come to pass. It's a nice option however. 

I guess my main concern is not acquiring one as soon as possible and ten, or twenty years from now they're $1 million dollar cars. They're not building any more 1950s anything of course so the supply is fixed and even diminishing in some cases. 

Thanks for any input, sorry for the long post as well. 

Last edited by Lostronin
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I have a buddy who’s been into Porsche’s his whole life. Driven/raced 356, 911, 906, 908’s all over the south, first in what ISMA used to be, then SVRA once the cars got old. 
He can tell stories all day about $300-$500 Speedsters, Convertible Ds, Carreras, Coupes, etc. He even has a friend who auto-Xed a Spyder he paid $1500 for.  

I think the replicar craze started in the 80’s when the cost of finding an original car and restoring it wasn’t economical, between the cost of labor and the (un)availablilty of parts, you’d have 2-3 times into it what it was worth.
Lots of things have changed since then, but the fact remains, finding a drivable Speedster, or one that can be restored into one is a $300/$500K prospect.  So replicas still remains the sensible choice.

I have a buddy that just sold a 1961 Karmann coupe for $65K. If you’re in the market for a $65K, 6V car with 75hp, no heat, no ac and “compromised” reliability, knock yourself out, but Carey and Greg can build an awfully nice car for $65K.   

Might I suggest finding someone with an original car and someone with a replica and going for a ride.  IMO, other than the nostalgia, there’s no comparison between 75 year old Porsches and modern replicas.

Some will say resale value, but as the owner of a pristine low mileage 968 Cabriolet that I rarely drive for fear of it getting in an accident on nicked/dinged in a parking lot, there’s a lot to be said for owning a car that isn’t worth a king’s ransom  

 

 

Hello and thank you for your reply. That's a concern, actually driving the vehicles in question. The driver's here in South Florida are absolutely horrible. I've been hit from behind twice in ten years time. Both times it was someone on a cell phone. Both times they has no insurance. Thankfully I wasn't hurt too badly. The accidents occurred in a Cadillac and a Mustang. I shudder to think of a 356 being hit like that. LOL 

I know a many who had a 550 back in 1964 or so. He paid $2500 or something around there for it. Which was for the time good money. I've seen old ads for Speedsters in the early 80s between $15k and $30k. Which in today's dollars is $40k to $70k or so according to the inflation calculators online. 

Being 40 years old myself I would not have had any chance at such a thing. By the time I got into a position financially speaking to buy one they had left low earth's orbit. Looked again and they're on their way to Mars. LOL what a game right? 

I have seen a few replicas at cars and coffee events but not an original as of yet. I'd happily pay for a ride in either one. 

Here's list of recent Speedster prices - 1 Brit # = $1.25

http://www.speedsters.com/prices.htm

Old Speedsters have moved beyond even weekend drivers in price.  A replica is a far better driver.  It won't greatly appreciate like the real thing - but the joy of driving it and inexpensive maintenance is a blast. In Miami you don't want an old German metal car- rust never sleeps.  Plus you'll probably want the convenience of air condition and probably more that 90 horse power. 

Take a look at the IM Convertible D for sale by Marty G. Very authentic, comfortable, reliable and fast (AC/heat from a Turbo Subaru engine).  Plus weather resistant and safety of better visibility. 

Last edited by WOLFGANG

I'm looking at relocating west. The humidity here is brutal. It's literally oppressive it's so bad. It's like living in a steam room. An inescapable steam room. 

I'm definitely leaning towards a replica. I think I would die if an original car were destroyed in an accident. I'm sure there is insurance for such things, but it would be painful for sure.  

This seems like a great community here. I can't wait to learn more and contribute to it all. 

@WOLFGANG posted:

Here's list of recent Speedster prices - 1 Brit # = $1.25

http://www.speedsters.com/prices.htm

Old Speedsters have moved beyond even weekend drivers in price.  A replica is a far better driver.  It won't greatly appreciate like the real thing - but the joy of driving it and inexpensive maintenance is a blast. In Miami you don't want an old German metal car- rust never sleeps.  Plus you'll probably want the convenience of air condition and probably more that 90 horse power. 

Take a look at the IM Convertible D for sale by Marty G. Very authentic, comfortable, reliable and fast (AC/heat from a Turbo Subaru engine).  Plus weather resistant and safety of better visibility. 

I posted a link to an imaginary internet friend's Dean Jeffries' Carrera Coupe a month or so ago. He sold it through Bonhams at Quail last year for $425,000. There wasn't a Speester in that sale that sold for less than $500K. The Carreras were closer to a million. Granted, it's Bonhams at Quail, but still. 

Last edited by dlearl476

I remember seeing speedsters in the late '70s for $3000. When I cared again, it was Y2K, and a used replica was $15k and an original driver could be had for $40-50k. When I built in 2005, a new Intermeccanica was half of what an original went for-- and there was a guy on here who delighted in pointing out that "a guy should just buy an original, if he's going to burn money on an IM".

Old Porsches started climbing rapidly in value shortly thereafter - then hit the afterburners. Convertible Ds were next to run up the ladder, then early 911s, then 912s. 356 coupes (which were always the ugly step-sisters) have taken off in the last 10 years. When my eldest daughter was 16, a 912E could be had for less than $3000 all day long (I know. I tried to convince her to buy one). Even 914s are starting to move up now, especially 6 cylinder cars. VW Buses hit the stratosphere about 10 years ago, and I suspect that Ghias and Beetles will start to move hard as well (a nice, rust-free Ghia is now a $30K car).

The crazy thing is: they're still leaky, rust-prone, funny driving old cars. They're weird in the extreme. Any modern car is better by any objective metric.

I got into the hobby when I could've bought an original speedster with what I had available to spend. I could've bought 4 coupes for what I had available to spend. The thing is: I didn't want to. I didn't want a rusty, leaky, under-powered little glorified VW. What I landed on has been a terrible investment, but it has kept me sane for 20 years now. I've tinkered, pulled the engine in and out a dozen or more times, built multiple engines, exhausts, dry-sump tanks, etc. I've had 3 sets of SEATS in the silly thing, for crying out loud. I keep changing the car to better suit me as I move through middle age.

I'd have done none of that with an original. Hot rodding an original at this point would be like "improving" the Mona Lisa. It's just bad for business. But I don't want one more thing with a set of rules to follow. I want to color outside the lines.

The OP might think he wants an original, but the very fact that he's here with the great unwashed betrays the fact that he doesn't, really.

My advice has never changed. If something else will satisfy the craving - then a guy should buy that thing, post haste. If this itch can be scratched with a Mustang, Miata, MG, or Maybach, then by all means - BUY IT NOW.

But if you are like the rest of us misfits, who want something that is ours (in every sense of the word) and who cannot sleep without dreaming of a 356 speedster that will never rust, always satisfy, and be customized just for you - then there's absolutely no saving you from yourself.

May God help you as you incinerate time and money on a fool's errand. Come. Join us in our folly.

Welcome to the Madness. 

Last edited by Stan Galat

Stan, your post brought a great smile to my face. It's both eloquent and comedic. I appreciate that. I did have some crazy ideas. I nearly bought a 356 coupe a few years back with the intent of cutting the whole roof off, reinforcing the frame and installing a Speedster type windshield  a real heart attack inducer to purist. I'm that kind of guy on many levels. I didn't do that of course. Now I must buy a replica or build one. Maybe assume my investments and day trading does well for me as it has thus far. At any rate I do dream of a 356 Speedster. I always have since I was a young boy. I had a picture of James Dean with his Speedster on my wall as a kid.To me it's always been the quintessential "cool" car. The epitome of effortless and timeless style and sleek form. It's very 1950s but also aged liked Sophia Loren. It's an amazing instrument of ingenuity and beauty.  It looks fast standing still. For it's time is was a zippy little car. I'm smitten and obsessed truth be told. Does anyone make a steel or aluminum bodied Speedster? Fiberglass works too, I'm just curious. I've seen some one offs people did which could have simply been extensive restorations. I've yet to see a metal body replica for mass sale. 

This is definitely a rabbit hole of sorts. However,  I don't want to come back from Wonderland yet. 

 

There are still some guys around who are driving original Speedsters - mostly gray-haired folks who got them 20 or 30 years ago before prices became eye-watering.

For the most part, almost anyone who buys one today is doing so for the concours circuit or as an investment, and not to drive the thing.

If you're looking for the 'authentic vintage driving experience', just about anything you can find for that money will be better bang for the buck - stuff like early 911s, E-type Jags, or even some Ferraris.

If you must have the Speedster look and the raw vintage driving feel, but weren't gifted a trust fund, a replica is pretty much the only thing that makes any sense.

That said, you should do some serious research into just what that 'raw vintage driving experience' really is. A lot of guys jump in thinking this is something like a real car and end up disappointed. A LOT of these cars are back on the market again within a year or two with a thousand miles on the clock or less.

And then, there are $20K replicas, $100K replicas, and everything in between. There are some good reasons for that.

Read through the archives here, find some local owners, bum some rides, and give yourself some time. They're not for everyone. They're not for most folks. It takes a certain kind of crazy.

And tenfold if you're in Florida. I'm in California's central valley - hotter than Florida, but no humidity. Here, there are 'Speedster days' and days which are not. You can add AC and some semblance of weatherproofing, and try to drive in all conditions, but you probably won't be happy doing so.

I think the best advice is to not be in a hurry to jump in. Take the time to learn what these silly things are all about.

 

There certainly are some pearls of wisdom in this thread, @Lostroninn.  Do you have name we can call you buy?

Anyway, Stan and Mitch summed things up pretty well.  You can go from truly vintage driving experience in the traditional VW-based Speedsters to thoroughly modern cars underneath classic shapes (Beck's new chassis for Speedsters and Coupes or a 911-based IM).  As long as you are educated and come into this with your eyes open (which means expect to have to tinker once in a while), you'll have one of the best automotive experiences possible.  It's all about choices and budgets.

BTW, I'm in Charleston, SC and suffer the same humidity hell every summer that you do, albeit a bit shorter in duration (May-Oct).  My next one will have AC.  We're moving to the Smokies in a few years when I retire.

@Sacto Mitch posted:

 There are still some guys around who are driving original Speedsters - mostly gray-haired folks who got them 20 or 30 years ago before prices became eye-watering.

... perhaps in coastal states where intellectuals and advertising executives congregated.

But out here in the heartland they were never a thing at all. Most men who might have purchased one bought a VW Beetle instead after being sat down in the den by their fathers-in-law, who schooled them regarding how wasting money on a ridiculous sports car (which was really just a fancy VW anyhow) was not "taking care of his daughter". Those who made it through that gauntlet were generally laughed and ridiculed off the factory floor, or left for dead after a late light stoplight dual with a Corvette or Mustang or 6-cylinder Valiant hitting on 5. Air-cooled cars were a "phase" college kids went through before settling down in their split-level and getting serious about life.

The weirdos who hung in there after the "fatherly advice", the ridicule of their workmates, and the humiliation of being a perpetual loser in stoplight altercations were able to watch their investment oxidize into base elements within 5 years of purchase (which was good, because nobody adjusted their valves, and the engines were making about 50 psi of cylinder pressure at that point anyway). Nobody has owned and operated a push-rod Porsche out here in, well, forever.

Everybody dreams of the "barn find" speedster, but anybody with the need of a barn had no use for a toy car with a lawn mower engine that cost about what a new Mercury went for. The 5 or 6 that sold new in mid-America were all resold or scrapped for pennies on the dollar back in the 60s, replaced with a Pontiac, Oldsmobile, or Buick depending on whether or not the initial automotive detour was made in one's 20s, 30s, or 40s.

Cable TV would have you believe they are "out there", just waiting to be discovered. They aren't. They've been uncovered, restored (or not), and have ended up in the collections of men who won't be your friend unless you can submit an application and copy of last year's W2.

A replica thumbs ones nose at all of that. For a car that everybody loves - car-guys in most places remain ambivalent towards anything fiberglass, and especially anything fiberglass with a Type 1 heart. There is no admiration or respect or even acknowledgement. VW guys don't know what to do with us, and Porsche guys think we're fakes. You're a rock-star at a stoplight and a outlier at a car show.

One has to be secure in one's manhood, interested in the thing for it's own sake, and unconcerned with impressing one's peers to be a long-term owner. Not everybody is all of those things, and that's cool too. If you can't tick all of the boxes, then something else is a better choice. If you do - then this is a great hobby.

Last edited by Stan Galat

"There is no admiration or respect or even acknowledgement. VW guys don't know what to do with us, and Porsche guys think we're fakes. You're a rock-star at a stoplight and a outlier at a car show."

Don't mind Stan.  The pressures of being a potentate over his own republic just make him grumpy at times.  My experience has been that car guys love Speedsters, fiberglass or steel, and even the local Porsche guys invited me along on their cruises.  Heck, the 356 Registry had a bunch of cars at the Cars on Kiawah several years ago and I was invited to join them.

Of course that could have been my winning personality.

I do love the discourse here ! 😁 My name is John. Sorry I didn't mention that earlier. I think that a few cars are so cool that they are just cool in any form. Real or replica. A 356 Speedster or Coupe. A Porsche 550, a Shelby Cobra.  These cars are just beautiful and cool. Anyone who doesn't admire or like them isn't really a car person in my opinion. 

Stan has me laughing here reading his latest reply. Sadly it drips of both truth and cynicism. I've heard guys older than myself speak of the muscle cars much the same way. They rusted when they were new and you couldn't give them away for a few decades. Only the true diehards  loved and wanted them. Now the rest of us have been priced out of the market for all intents and purposes. 

My poor wife though, haha. Friends of mine look at me like I'm insane. I just said at a 4th of July party... "big houses are nice, but I'd rather buy a smaller house a little further away and have a dream car or two in my garage. You can't drive a house." 

It's a shame in some ways that some cars are so expensive. At least we have replicas for the situation at hand, to assuage our insanity. 

Ok, you 2 are pretty funny for 1st thing in the morning!  

@Lostronin- Some very good points being made by everybody.  As Uncle Stan said- if anything else will scratch the itch (and we do mean ANYTHING!) jump at it!  Your visions of roaring around like James Dean with the wind in your hair will quickly be destroyed by this cantankerous pile of parts that hasn't been cutting edge since automotive technology was barely out of it's infancy.  I hope you're already somewhat familiar with cars in general, and as has already been said, be prepared to tinker, or the car will spend most of it's time languishing in the garage, waiting for someone to give it the tlc that it so needs.   If you haven't taken the time to learn to take care of it's needs (and these cars needs are many!) or found a mechanic to do so (not as easy to do as you'd think- competent VW mechanics that can do the high performance end of it are not on every 2nd street corner any more) you'll end up selling the project, possibly for a chunk less than you paid for it, the whole experience leaving a bad taste in your mouth.  If any other affordable convertible out there will do it, go for it.

Don't expect to be loved, or even respected by the Porsche community- the odd guy will like what you've done, but even a build that mimics the factory cars pretty closely (swingaxle trans, drum brakes, 5x205mm wheels, stock size tires, correct dash layout with believable replica gauges and knobs, stock color combo, type 1 engine dressed to look like 356 or even a 356 or 912 engine installed) will not get more than a passing glance of most P owners.  Once they realize it's a plastic car with no P vin # most will not be interested.  If you can accept that you're driving a Bastard Child of the automotive world and it gives you that Sh!t Eating Grin driving (or even just looking at it in the garage) you'll be happy.

That said, if you're still here and game, a Speedster delivers a driving experience like no other.

                 WELCOME TO THE MADNESS!

PS- my apologies for sounding so negative, but there are some things you just gotta know...

Last edited by ALB

Our resident Yoda (@ALB) is giving you the "tough love" treatment but he's right.  Even if you go with one of these that has modern underpinnings, you'll not be getting a modern car.  If you want trouble free, weather-proof top-down motoring, get a Miata or Boxster.  If you want unique, cool motoring with a little (or a lot of) vintage flare, well then welcome aboard!  I get the feeling from your posts that you'd fit into our little corner of the asylum just fine.

Last edited by Lane Anderson

There was a time I wouldn't pay a dime over $2,800 for a project speedster , those times like my hair, have dispersed. These Tupperware cars are a compulsive illness, they latch onto you with ideas and upgrades that spin in our heads night and day. There is no twelve step program on earth that will quench the thirst and lust for our speedsters . Some years back I came very close to kicking the bucket, a week out of the hospital  ICU I was back in the shop.  I have tried and tried with great intentions to walk away from this hobby of building but the Speedster Spirits and the good folks herein keep finding ways to dangle speedsters on a string and continually win me over. I am now into day seven without a speedster project in the garage and it is blissful. However... I'm a Speedster addict.

Last edited by Alan Merklin

 

@Stan Galat posted:

... perhaps in coastal states where intellectuals and advertising executives congregated.

But out here in the heartland they were never a thing at all. 

 

 

Somewhere west of Laramie (far west of, actually) there's a mohito-hoisting, hipster account exec who knows what I'm talking about. He's bored with the belch of the V-8 and there are no stoplights on the sweep of the avenue leading to the gym when he's going high, wide, and handsome.

The truth is, the Porsche was built for him. Built for the dude whose face is brown with bronzer when the day is done of meetings and metrics and brand. He loves that the final 'e' is pronounced and doesn't rhyme with 'Borscht'.

There's a savor of bravura about that car - of privilege and power and posh - a hint of old loves and leather. Step into the Speedster when the hour grows dull with things online. Then start for the land of fantasy, imagined adventure, with the spirit of the dude who rides, credit cards maxed out, into the red horizon of a Malibu twilight.

 

I'm glad I'm not alone in my delusional fantasy. I've been messing with cars for a long time. I do all of my own maintenance except engine and transmission rebuilds. 

I've got to say, I don't find realistic or accurate information "negative." Negative is for batter terminals as far as I'm concerned. 😄

I don't so much care what the Porsche purist think of a replica. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... right ?

We could blame them for paying so much for such antiquated and slow cars can't we? Hahaha! Thus pricing out the true sicko people like us from scratching the itches we are forced to live with. 

I'm going to look around and see about things. I'll be in LA later this year. There's a couple of builders there. I think there are a couple of 356 and 500 reps for rent too. I'll probably rent one and drive it for a few days on proper roads in proper weather. A far cry from this flat wasteland or humidity and misery here. 

This place is great. So many forums and car communities are terrible.  They take it all much too seriously at times. Not here. We seem to know that we need a certain help and that help is a 356 in any guise so long as it is ours. I'll join the club asap. 

Back in 1963 my brother bought a used 1959 Speedster for $2,200 dollars - it hadn't sold in 1958 and was a left-over after they shut down the production line for Speedsters.  It was 5 years old when he bought it from a local doctor and it needed some minor body work.

My dad about hit the roof.  

What would that be in today's dollars, $30K?  But he was in the service and had the money to spend so....  No big deal.  

He left it at home when he re-deployed so my Dad got to drive it more than my brother did, just "keeping it limbered up", so to speak.  That same car, a 1500 normal, today would clock in around $250K.  

For all of the oldies in the New England 356 club, that becomes a serious chunk of their retirement income.  

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

John, welcome to the madness!

I do like the notion that a smaller house and a few toys is better than a big house.

If a Spyder catches your fancy there's no turning back. I chose to make the car something I(and my wife!) liked. The rest of the world can suck it. 

It is raw. Immediate. Loud, raucous. Rides surprisingly smoothly. Accelerates great. Brakes very well. It's predictable and neutral, right up until you exceed the limit. Then almost impossible to catch, unless you know it's coming. In other words: FUN FUN FUN!

About 98% of the local PCA guys love the car. There are a couple who will never look at anything WITHOUT a P VIN fondly. But that's OK, they never will "GET IT".

For those "Goldilocks" days, it is quite the enjoyable ride. Too hot or too cold, not so much. Cold is better as I have heat and heated seats. Baking like a potato is not fun. It's even worse with an all-aluminum interior.

Having met a few people whose cars have escalated in value to the point they cannot drive them, in one case, had to sell (at huge profit) a D Type Jaguar, because he couldn't afford to insure it to just sit in his workshop, let alone drive on the road, I'd have to be very rich indeed to enjoy driving a real Speedster.  I have two friends who have real coupes, and are rich enough to drive them on the road, but both are more nervous now than they were a few years back.  Yes they have made a lot of 'profit' from the escalating value, but you have to sell it to get the money.  My Speedster (when I get it) is going to be a toy that I can enjoy when the sun shines, without anxiety or stress.

 

Drive 'em.

These cars are soooo beautiful that lots of guys get bound up about just driving them (I might get a scratch, it might rain and get the leather wet, etc.). They keep them looking good, but never use them.

The thing is, they're not valuable like an original. They may cost more than most guys think they should, but they're short money compared to a new GT3 or GT4 (shoot, they're short money compared to an "S"). You aren't going to drop the value putting miles on them.

Drive 'em.

@Lostronin John, it's my second Vintage Spyder from Greg Leach in Hawaiian Gardens CA. The first was 2002, the new one is 2016. Greg sent me a roller the first time with trans. The second car came as a semi-roller: front beam installed and old drums just to make it roll. The rear end was supported by a huge shopping cart-like wheel clamped to the trans crossmember. Greg did all panel fit/finish/hinge/latches. He painted it, mounted the windshield and carpets, and installed a harness in the car. I finished the interior, wired it, installed gauges and seats. Then the motor and trans, brakes, alignment, oil system, fuel system. Installed carbon-fiber seat heaters and a Webasto gasoline heater. I also got a used top and am still in-process on that.

The first one hit a guardrail at 60, the frame is quite strong. Every fiberglass panel was cracked or shattered, but the steel frame protected me. I was very lucky to walk away and be able to tell the tale.

I stripped the drivetrain and seats, and built it again. It was nice to NOT make the same building mistakes the second time around.

Believe me, I'm very happy to still be here!

Vintage Motorcars Inc., it's the same maker, he does Spyders, Speedsters, and pre-A coupes now. Very nice fit and finish.

Speedster: 1800 pounds

Spyder: 1500 pounds

Just sayin'

I put over 40,000 miles on the old car in ten years. That's a lot of miles considering the Northeast location.

Last edited by DannyP

@Lostronin @Jem Hayward

"Welcome to the Madness" known as replicar ownership. Quite a few on this site are current or previous owners of Porsches, but also own one of these replica 356's and 550's. This is a great group that enjoys doing exactly whet you are pursuing, have a cool car with timeless designing providing you endless miles of enjoyment.

I have posted this video many times before, so most everyone has seen it (or probably tired of seeing). If you haven't, it is a collection of SOC members gathering on the East Coast, West Coast and everywhere in between. Hopefully you'll be able to join us on one of these get togethers! 

Welcome To The Madness from Jim Ignacio on Vimeo.

This certainly has been a most entertaining reminiscing booklet that we need to send to @Marty Grzynkowicz lest he forgets what he is planning to leave to be an Alpha Doggy minus his IM Roadster.  

I enjoyed the comments on being somewhat of an unacceptable child in the look alike contest of the 356 world, it is especially obvious when one tries to explain what kind of car we have. 

John, take the above advice and try to get to some cruise weekend where some of these guys are and try the right seat of many cars to see what options and style of car you like.  Style as in, builders, engines options etc. 

Carlisle might be a wash but maybe Marty will be in Naples soon with his IM, or MotoCarlo in Georgia is selling his IM roadster. 

Jim, show John how to pack a 356 before a trip  That would be really important information to complete his education @MusbJim

Last edited by IaM-Ray

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