Your 2nd paragraph spoke to me. We, as replica owners, recreate that feel and re-live that time when it was called motoring, which was an adventure itself. In a lot of ways it was a simpler time, and if jumping in your car brings you back to that, even for just a moment, that's what's important.

You obviously have more emotionally invested in this than me but you bring up some great points-  for example, is a Porsche any less of a Porsche if it's been rebuilt or has other than factory parts? Is it still a Porsche when almost every piece of sheet metal but the vin # has been replaced? And, of course, there are more. Not being a Porsche owner these questions have no bearing in my life and I'll let more qualified souls hash out these (and other) soul searching dilemmas.

What's important to me is that there is still the opportunity to experience that long forgotten thing called motoring, where the wind is in (what's left of) my hair and I can feel connected with The Road (caps are intentional, and if you've seen the movie Cars you'll get it). I really need to get my bucket of parts up and running before the opportunity is taken away, as I really think my oldest will understand.

 

Last edited by ALB

In about 1988 or so, I was living in the UK, and bought a speedster replica. The story behind it was interesting. The builder had bought a 356A coupe, and had deemed it too far gone to restore (this was 1988...). So, he took it apart and used as much as possible in a VW pan-based replica. This included the seats, gauges, steering wheel, some interior trim, gas tank, wheels, the Reutter badges inside the door, and most significantly, the part of the trunk floor that held the VIN.. Absolutely everything else - engine, transmission, pan, and of course the body, was VW or replica. 

When I bought it, it was registered as a 1967 VW.

He included with the sale all the registration documents of the unrestorable 356. I asked the DVLA (UK version of DMV) if I could register the speedster using that paperwork - and of course corroborating it with the VIN piece, and they, in those days, were happy to do so. Thus, I had a fully legal 1956 356 Convertible that was accepted into the Porsche Club GB, and wore its 'Porsche' tax disc etc. 

Just 2 square inches of steel turned that car from a Volkswagen to a Porsche. Of course a Porsche had to 'die' to give up its VIN for this replica to live, but it strikes me that there's much more to a vehicle than its VIN. Do I consider that replica to be a Porsche? Hell no!!  But just like the Ship of Theseus,  legally and officially it was....

 

 

 

 

In my case I owned a 356A coupe when I was 20 and it kind of never left me so when I had. A chance to buy an old one which  I nearly did y(2000) before the appreciation of the $. but after trying out an IM and seeing their construction it was hard to have a 60hp compared to a 145hp except of course the adulation of a historical piece left in the garage as queen which was not my idea of fun, Since I wanted to drive the car. 
So in a sense I’m also living in the past or the illusion of the past.

Reminds me of the story this guy gets married four times had kids with the first wife one day he’s reminiscing after one too many beers and he says I should’ve stayed with my first wife it’s that kind of delusional for some.

Tony, I spot fakes every day that sell in the 1/2 to 1 million range.  But of course they have a vin tag.  Not that it matches the car at all, but that seems to be enough for most people these days.  Many recent (late 10 years) COA are frauds.  Notice Porsche no longer issues these.  I know why!

Last edited by Eric Marshall Green

Use words like:  "I certify that I built the spyder, speedster"  I did that as an affidavit for those who were in power and wanted one.  I really did. 

Last edited by IaM-Ray

An opinion of mine that had proved HUGELY unpopular and unleashed the Porsche mob on me is my belief that a restored 356 is only as good as the abilities of the person (s) doing the work.  It could be better than Reutter or not as good as Reutter but depending on how much has been changed, it is no longer a car built by Porsche.  The same would be true in art.  If the paint falls off the Mona Lisa and it is repainted by another artist using photos as reference, is it by Da Vinci?  Of course not.  Thoughts on this, please.  In many ways, our makes are more authentic that the pretend vin numbered Porsches. 

Last edited by Eric Marshall Green

Part of me is glad that people are going to such lengths to save these cars. They are (I think) an important part of automotive history and as many as possible should be preserved as such so people can (at least) see them up close and not just read about it all from some book or the internet. Whether a rebuilt and re-skinned car is still a real or any less Porsche than the 1 next to it isn't a discussion that I feel is relevant. Almost any car with mileage on it has had parts replaced and (usually) some sort of bodywork/restoration done, so you can look at it that way and debate 'till the cows come home whether it's still real or you could look at it from the perspective of it's still around and we can see what they looked like and the technology that made them so special.

My car, your car, and everybody else's cars here aren't Porsches, never will be Porsches, but they are what they are , and what they are is a whole lotta fun and a blast to drive, so the whole P crowd that's sacreligously busy admiring their cars from afar on a show field, laughing because the car beside them's licence plate bolts aren't correct and dissing the very idea of entertaining replica ownership (or, for that matter, their right to exist) are totally missing out on what our cars, or even theirs are about. They were meant to be driven, not stared at. THAT'S WHAT PUT 356's ON THE PEDESTAL THEY'RE ON TODAY! And that's what I find is sooo blasphemous about the whole collector car craze...

Last edited by ALB

Interesting point Eric. 

always been my issue at Concours events. The cars are restored to a much better quality than the factory. And as you pointed out, not much is left of that car from the factory. 

....which is why I love the “preservation class”. I enjoy worn paint, chips, etc. shows the car was driven and used. 

Last edited by Kevin - Bay Area

If the paint falls off the Mona Lisa and it is repainted by another artist using photos as reference, is it by Da Vinci?

I had thought the same until I saw what Janis Joplin's 356 Convert D sold for ($1.8 Million!) - it had all been repainted (and not by the original artist).  There I guess it is more the providence of it being owned/driven by Janis than it being an old Porsche or sporting unique artwork. 

The restoration of rusty Porsches has definitely spawned a lucrative craft of rebuilding them.  Owners paying unGodly sums to restore and then not drive a "recreation". 

In 1978 I bought a running (but no brakes) '62 356 Karmann Knotchback for $300.  I fixed the driver's floor with the STOP sign at the end of the street.  Those days are over!  Marching build date steel wheels would probably go for $1000 - now!  Kick myself for not storing it away in a dry barn.

I consider this car a Rorschach Test for such claims. 

550-0082 engine

550-0082, "completed in March 1956, it was delivered new in Belgium’s racing colour of bright yellow to Ecurie Nationale Belge, ...Without a doubt, the car’s most significant event was the 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans, Unfortunately, Dubois and Hacquin were disqualified after pitting to add oil on the 70th lap ...Its final race with Ecurie Nationale Belge was the 1957 Swedish Grand Prix where the car finished 8th in class with Tassin and Ms Hacquin.

 

"From 1958 through the early 1960s, 550-0082 was sold to Jacques Thenaers, who ran it in hill climbs, minor races and rallies. According to a series of letters in the car’s history file, it was rebodied as a coupe by APAL and fitted with a 2.0-litre Carrera engine after being purchased by Edmond Pery from Ecurie Francorchamps around 1965 and subsequently sold to Belgian racing driver Pierre Bonvoisin. In APAL guise it continued to race in Belgium through 1967. Sold to a Mr Michaelis of Embourg, Belgium, in September of 1970, at this time the car had a S-90 engine. Sometime thereafter in his ownership, the car was taken off the road and it remained in storage for roughly two decades. After passing through Philippe Jegher’s of Esneux, Belgium, chassis no. 550-0082 was purchased by Corrado Cupellini of Bergamo, Italy, in March of 1989 missing both its engine and APAL bodywork, before passing to Bruno Ferracin in May of 1995.

"The car was later purchased by Peter Ludwig of Germany in January 2000, and a comprehensive restoration, which included producing new bodywork and sourcing a correct series engine and transaxle, was undertaken by Porsche Zentrum Würzburg in 2000 at a cost of nearly €100.000. Afterwards which the car participated in the 2001 Mille Miglia Storica."

The car is considered by bidders and experts to be as real as any other real one even though it was a "donor car" for a fiberglass kit and retains almost nothing of its original equipment. Engine is long gone. The body it has now was made by the Porsche elves but even I, a rank amateur in 550 detail knowledge, can see several nonstandard things in the above photo, including:

*Voltage regulator mounted in the wrong spot

*Wires misrouted

*Fuel lines incorrectly routed

*Clam catches are incorrect & like nothing the 1950s factory supplied.

I could go on. 

To me, the beauty of this hobby is precisely that it creates the option—if not the imperative—to laugh loudly at the purists' most sacred gospels. Of course 550-0082 is more of a real Porsche than, to cite a random example, BH550-00B1. But is it as "real" as 550-0060, which was never raced but also never re-bodied? 

I love that I don't have to care!

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Earlier I mentioned I have longed to go on some cross country journey if for no other reason than to go. I've never done that before but one thing I have done dozens upon dozens of times is take short journeys. Either by myself or with others. We meet for breakfast and just drive all of the back roads our county has to offer. No destination in mind, just being one with our cars and the road. We stop on occasion to admire the view and ponder what the meaning of life is. Well, maybe we don't get that philosophical. But we do stop to admire the view. The experience brings you closer to the world around you and the 356 is an integral part of that. The experience would never be the same in a Prius or any other modern car; not even some other modern convertible. The feel of the road, the sound of the air-cooled engine, the smell of the gas; all of that seems necessary and important to the experience.

My 356 is the best car I've ever had.

Eric Marshall Green posted:

Robert, I so hear you, brother.  THAT is IT.  Where are you?  Maybe we can take a run together?

If you ever make it to California with your car, specifically Fresno, CA we can make one of those runs along the Sierra Nevadas, which is one of my favorite places. But seriously, if you're just in California with your car I'd go make a run.

Last edited by Robert M

As I have said (over and over and over)-- I've been to the Pacific coast in my car twice, and to the Smokys in the east. The trips were among the best experiences I've ever had in my life. The reason I sound so much like a broken record is to encourage The Great American Road Trip, before forces beyond our control (old age, etc.) make it impossible.

Driving a reliable, enclosed, temperature controlled modern vehicle across this country is a good way to get the scale of the place. It's less sensible and efficient than just flying, but holds an appeal that can't be quantified.

Making the same trip in an open car of questionable reliability, exposed to the weather, being propelled by will, wits, and wistfulness is a transcendent experience. To cross the Continental Divide at speed, or to drop into the great trees of northern California after 14 hrs in the desert, or to see the Rockies rising in the distance after rocketing through Kansas dodging thunderheads caused me to ponder selling everything I've ever owned (except this car), and continue "finding America" until the money ran out. Sleeping in cheap motels in small desert towns, filling up in gas stations with 120 miles of nothing between them, leaving Las Vegas on a 110* morning and rolling into Fort Morgan, Colorado with snow blowing over the windshield, starting out at sunrise-- not because there was someplace I had to be, but because there was someplace I had to be.

In the car. In the wind. Sunglasses on, hat in place, motor purring, tires humming, pointed towards... somewhere.

Yeah. 

In this day of the 24 hr news cycle, with everybody tweeting about everything, and talking heads telling us what is desperately wrong with the opposition-- a long, solitary road trip in an open car reveals everything that is right with the world, and makes me feel fortunate and blessed to have been given the opportunity to take a few laps around the sun on this beautiful blue ball.

Drive 'em.

You guys are talking somewhat like what we did in our Mega trip in 2011. I asked my Wife if she'd do that one again and she said she'd do it In a heartbeat. I'd like to stay out of LA and Vegas this time and include more stuff like Bryce Canyon. The correct time of year would have to be carefully studied. 

Last edited by David Stroud IM Roadster D

This is why we don't need radios in our cars. Take a blue highway anywhere on or between the coasts. Add, as Stan says, the sound of treads and tappets, the thrum of expansion joints and the whole feast for the senses. Then take a cue from Eric's original question.  The seat of an engaging car on a long road trip is one of the best places in the world to engage in thought experiments. 

To wit: The Ship of Theseus which I know we've mentioned before, but it just never gets old for me.

As for a cross country road trip? Oh I'm in. I've done it several times in several deferent conveyances including one with two pedals, 10 forward gears and no reverse.  Make sure to include a bedroll so we can sleep free on some of that BLM land!

Why don't you "Ballers" (Cannon, that is) make your Run in June...ending with El Oceano Pacifico at San Luis Obispo. The SOC West Coast Cruise will be there June 5th, 6th, and 7th.  Indeed, if you were to "limp" into these annual frivolities, be assured you'll find plenty of "drinks for your men and beer for your horses." And, I, personally, will provide rolls of duct tape for your Speedies' trip home. 

If all goes to plan I'll be driving to SLO from Portland. Haven't made a final route plan, and it'll only be a third of a continent's worth of mileage if I take the scenic route (is there any other route?) but still plenty for a shake down cruise. A full Cannonball run would require plenty of advance notice for me. Looking forward to meeting you, Paul!

Regarding "originality":

I understand (by reasoning) the desire to own something "original"-- the car Stirling Moss drove, the hat Lincoln wore, the bed Washington slept in, etc. But on an emotional level, "originality" does almost nothing for me for a couple of reasons.

I'm a hick-town tradesman, descended from a long line of builders-- men and women who pieced together quality materials, and created something greater than the sum of their parts. There was a time when almost everybody understood the concept of value added-- real estate was improved with the construction of a building and cars were made better by modification. There is a vast difference (in my mind) between a cobbled up repair using the materials at hand, a "correct" repair using OEM parts, and a modification which corrects some flaw and makes a machine run better than it did "as new". This is the very definition of a hot-rodder, as opposed to a mechanic.

While an old school car is cool, seeing what old-school men with a similar mindset did to improve it is of much greater interest. This is why I'll always be an air-cooled guy. The engine is improvable. Legend of the Sainted German Engineer aside, there are so very many flaws in the Type 1 design that improvement runs the gamut from low-hanging-fruit right through very involved re-engineering of entire systems. Taking an 80 hp engine as far as it can go is a pretty interesting proposition to me.

This kind of hot-rodding can't be done in any substantive way to a modern car, which is why I'm grateful for them as a hyper-reliable and comfortable transportation appliance, and completely unattached to them emotionally. My daily driver doesn't need me in any way. An original 356 or 550 (while important and beautiful) are vehicles begging to be improved and even to be reimagined.

I'm cocky enough to think I can do it better in 2020 than a struggling German shop could do in the 1950s. If I understand the essence of an early Porsche, I derive a great deal of pleasure in doing the same thing Ferry and the boyz did in my own way-- keeping the template, but rounding the car out as I see fit. 

The other thing that turns me towards a replica is the investment value of originality. I (personally) think less of someone born rich or strong or beautiful than I do of somebody who worked hard to remake themselves into something that far exceeds the raw material they were given. It's not that rich, strong, or beautiful people (by birth) aren't rich, strong or beautiful (or that I can't appreciate that)-- it's just that they didn't do anything to get that way. I say this as a guy who had a lot of advantages in raw material at birth and frittered most of them away-- I haven't even lived up to my personal potential, let alone exceeded anybody's expectations. I really respect those who have.

So, to that end, I honestly like a Singer 911 a lot more than a perfect, low mile, numbers matching 911R. I like an Emory Outlaw more than a 100 point 356 restoration. But I don't like either of them any more than a really nicely done and well executed fiberglass replica. I couldn't care less about whether or not the VIN came from Germany or not. 

The thing that turns me off "original" stuff most of all is the fact that for most buyers, this is a vanity purchase-- a measure of wealth and taste, as opposed to a measure of capability and intelligence. The automobile as a totem for wealth is a bit like the smarmy guy who marries the supermodel-- not because he's excited by the prospect, or even because he particularly enjoys her company, but strictly because it makes him look and seem more wealthy or powerful in "having" her. These are the same guys who can't and don't drive their 6 and 7 figure classics, and don't really know much about them at all... except that they are worth $1.2M or whatever. I don't want to be that guy. I don't even want to be a knock-off version of that guy. It makes me embarrassed when people think I want to be a knock-off version of that guy. This "look at me" thing is one of the reasons I hate entering car shows. If I do enter, I park the car and walk off to look at other stuff.

One of the things I always enjoyed about owning my plastic fantastic is that out here in F150 country, nobody but a car-guy even knew what a 356 was. With the rise of Speed Chanel, etc. on cable, everybody is becoming familiar with them (as totems for wealth), and now I wish that the original market might collapse. Then my car could be judged for what it is, as opposed to seeming like a dime-store copy of something super-valuable, like a photocopy of the Mona Lisa run on a bubble-jet printer using generic ink.

So-- the owner of 550-082 can think of himself as a protector of the priceless, but his car does less for me than Bob Carely's speedster with the 964 engine and transaxle, or Marty's turbo Subaru car, or Danny's no-nonsense 550, or Anand and Ed's lost-in-the-details recreations. I can say (in all humility) that none of them are as cool as my car is to me-- not because my car is functionally better (it's not) , but because what I have is an extension of my vision of what I wanted my car to be. It's mine.

That's worth more than a hundred German VINs to me.

Last edited by Stan Galat

Non 356 related, the guy restoring my 71 Giula GT keeps calling my project a restomod, but it took me more than one time to really understand what he was saying.   He said, basically, we can do anything, we can find or make everything that matches how the original car came out of the factory, but think about it, is that what you really want?

What opened up my eyes, was when he asked me about the brackets that hold the electrical wires inside the engine bay.  He said, do you want me to preserve these thin ugly wire brackets that scrap your hands every time you put your hands inside the engine bay?  I said, what do you mean? He replied, we can use modern fasteners and or completely hide the wires.  Oh, light bulb went on, I'm not going for a concourse judged car, so that makes a ton of sense.  So, in the end restomod in my head meant "hot rod "but in reality it's just restoring with well thought-out modifications

 

 

 

Last edited by Marty Grzynkowicz

Stan, that essay was really well-written and I could not agree more, since, you know my feelings because you likely read what I wrote above even if you didn't mention it.  BUT, how in the hell do you write so well?  And where can I see LOTS of images of your build?

The real question is, do you like your through-hood filler?

I like it yes, but honestly I don't give a whit what anyone thinks of any part of my Spyder. As Stan stated so eloquently, my car is MINE and I made it the way I want it. And I continue to hot-rod and modify to my heart's content, because I enjoy that as much as driving it and looking at it. Cars and coffee is cool. Non-judged shows are cool. Judged shows ehhhh, those people don't get it. Concours? Snoozeville.

I've run into other like-minded people here, Carlisle, those Cars and Coffees I like. I respect them, they respect me. That's cool. I guess I'm a hot-rodder. 

You are a hot-rodder, Danny.

The way I think of it is like this-- if I buy or build something because I'm trying to get what other people value, I'm spending my time and effort for somebody else's idea of what is worthwhile. If I do something because I want to-- that thing will always have value to me, regardless of what anybody else thinks of it. It feels nice if other people like it, but even if they don't-- the thing that's cool to me will remain cool, regardless of the whims of fashion.

I probably ought to have more pictures of my car, but I don't. I don't take many, I don't curate them, I misplace them-- and mostly, I just don't care enough what other people think to post a bunch of them online.

That said, I have an 8 ft x 4 ft poster of my car, at speed, on the Tail of the Dragon hanging in my garage.

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Last edited by Stan Galat
Eric Marshall Green posted:

As an aside, does anyone like or dislike my 550 gas filler offset in my bonnet?

Always worried I would gaz the hood but yours is probably safer

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