Beck Replica: 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder

Beck 550 Spyder

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I know how some feel about kit cars and fiberglass replicas, but when it comes to something like a Porsche 550 Spyder, I’d take a replica like this Beck any day! This one actually appears to be one of their older cars, it’s been parked in this barn long enough to collect some dust and have the brakes lock up. It might not be the real thing, but for those of us that don’t have serious money to spend, this is the closest we can get to the real deal. Find this Beck Spyder here on eBay in Lyon Mountain, New York with a BIN of $22,500.

Beck 550 Spyder Interior

Beck has been building Porsche replicas for quite a while now. I’ve seen a few in person and at first glance, you’d never know they weren’t the real deal. While I don’t understand building 356 replicas, I understand the Speedster and Spyder replicas. These are cars that are well beyond the average car guy budget, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to experience one of these iconic cars.

Beck 550 Spyder Engine

I probably wouldn’t ever buy a Speedster replica, but I sure would love to have one of these Spyders. Their newest version is powered by a Subaru Boxer and is faster than the real deal. This one looks to be powered by a FAT performance engine, so it won’t be quite as fast, but still fun! I just wish the seller had provided us with more information in their ad. So would you be alright with driving a 550 Spyder replica or would you only drive the real deal?

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  1. RayT

    I’ve driven both Beck Spyders and a genuine Porsche 550, long enough in each case to have some idea what kind of performance one might expect. Believe me, if you leave out all considerations of monetary value to Porsche enthusiasts and high-end collectors, I’d take the Beck every time.

    The quality of a Beck is, simply, flawless. There are no ragged edges, no details that make you want to spend a little time making them nicer. In worst-case situations, I’d rather repair fiberglass than aluminum, prefer looking for VW parts instead of replacement bits for a 550.

    It sounds odd to talk about being a “purist” when it comes to these cars, but I’d stick with the good ol’ Beetle engine (hotted-up, of course). The Subie mill is a good one, but these are all about the “feel.” The Beck is the kind of car we all imagine (and wish) the 550 would have been.

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  2. hhaleblian

    I’m all about Beck 550’s, but I feel this one in it’s current state is overpriced

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    • RayT

      Agreed. I haven’t kept up with recent price increases, but a dozen or so years ago you could buy an assembled, fully functional, complete-with-VW-engine Beck Spyder for roughly the same money. This one is said to need brake work, the upholstery looks tired, and I would imagine there are a lot of other jobs waiting to be done before you could drive it.

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  3. Dave Wright

    I knew Beck and spent time at his factory…….they are very well designed and finished. With an original 550 value in the stratosphere, these cars make sense. This is not a plastic body on a VW pan but a well thought out sports car that would be great fun.

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  4. jimbosidecar

    Just reminds me where I’m at when even the replicas are out of my price range…

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  5. Rick

    Back in 2003 or 2004 was in Las Vegas on business, saw one of these replica 550s on a car lot for $7K, figured I’d drive it back to Seattle, so I went back to buy it and somebody else had got there before me and bought it and drove it away

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  6. Mikey

    My Dad just worked on a Beck like this but much much much nicer with a period correct 356a engine and the lady made it all but perfect and if you didn’t know you would think it was a real deal and she sold it for $9500.00 USD I bet the guy that bought that took the engine out and sold it for that much and then sold the car with another engine

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  7. ChasMember

    These Beck’s are a blast!
    While they will not fool any serious Porsche enthusiast into believing that they are the real thing, they are a whole lot of fun for the money, and a lot of non Porsche people who have seen one have asked if it is the real deal.
    They are exceptionally well built and perfom nicely, although the rear is very light and can create a lot of wheel hop under hard acceleration.
    A proper build can usually squeeze between 90 and 140 horses out of a tuned Beetle engine, and with only around 1200 pounds to pull around, they can be quite entertaining to drive, so long as you are well aware of the dynamics of driving a swing axle car. If not, the entertainment factor rises exponentially, as does your liklihood of serious injury!
    As someone else has mentioned, this is not some dune buggy body bolted to a VW Beetle belly pan. Rather, these cars have a proper frame, which is purpose built for this application, with a hoop under the dash cowl which serves to add rigidity to the whole affair, and the use of a transporter rear axle turned upside down, allows for the true mid engine mounting of the VW power plant, which makes for a near ideal weight distribution.
    I have never seen this type of cooling shroud, which appears to house a cooling fan, but I can’t understand if it draws air from the passenger compartment, which would make no sense to me. Also, there appears to be an electric fan mounted to an oil cooler at the rear. Typically, these cars are cool enough with the original VW shroud, or an adpatation of that shroud and a seperate oil cooler exposed to atmosphere and the oncoming breeze at speed. Not sure if this is overkill or if this particular car runs hot and needed additional cooling.
    In my opinion, well sorted and presentable Becks are worth between $15K and $24K, so the BIN on this one seems a bit pricy for one that has sat dormant for a period and which will require some brake and other work to recommission it to road use. However, the bidding is more in line with the actual value and someone might get a good deal well below the BIN price.
    These are a whole lot of fun for the money, and if you buy one between $12K and $18K, you will not likely regret it. Hell, even if you spend upwards of $20K, you will still have blast!

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    • Jonny the Boy

      That engine fan shroud is a 911-style shroud which is an aftermarket item for air-cooled VW engines.

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  8. D. King

    Hmmm. I’ve got an extra 912 engine in my garage that came out of a Beck. Wonder if I should go in search of something needing it…

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  9. bcavileer

    Sold a Beck a few years ago for 1/2 that price and in twice as nice condition. This is overpriced. Nice replica, and no one cares at 55 mph…fun cars.

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  10. Jonny the Boy

    I like the worn leather! It makes the car seem old, like proper 1955 patina should!

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  11. Bingo

    Needs some James dean blood.

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  12. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    I remember a neighbor of my Mother in law around 2005 here in NW Florida sold a real nice black with red interior Spyder replica, not sure if a Beck but it went for about $10k on Ebay, but didn’t sell fast. Neat cars, my fiberglass 4 cyl convertible 1600cc would outrun and outhandle it though.

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  13. boxdin

    I like the Dodge truck gas pedal.

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  14. DolphinMember

    I get everything about this except the swing axles. In a VW they were OK because you only had 36 or 40 HP, but not for me in a track car with a hot rod engine, even if it is a mid-engine car. Call me chicken, but I’m chicken when it comes to large camber changes at high speeds.

    Makes me wonder whether Beck or anyone has ever come up with an alternative rear suspension.

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    • MNax Spitznagel

      if you want a different suspension build one and put it in, no one will stop you.

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  15. Doug Towsley

    Appears they altered the listing. I dont see a BIN, and currently at $15k + with no reserve. I have no idea on values of these as I dont track them,. But sure looks fun to me. Would be tempting to put on some temporary vinyl transfers for the old Pan America race and some period clothing and drive the snot out of it. The car will need a lot of detailing and TLC but looks pretty solid to me. Taking the long view,,,I would service and detail it and drive it as is, and start collecting parts to take it to the next level performance wise. A roll cage would be a nice add-on IMHO. Sweet car.

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    • D. King

      Once there is a bid on an Ebay listing, the BIN goes away. This is automatic, not something the seller did.

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      • Doug Towsley

        Once there is a bid on an Ebay listing, the BIN goes away. This is automatic, not something the seller did.
        When did that start???? I have been a FeeBay member and seller since 1999, I have never seen that before. Now, *IF* there is a reserve, and once the reserve price is met the reserve goes away. But If what you are saying is correct that would be a very new development.

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      • ChasMember

        I don’t believe that this is accurate. The BIN does not disappear when there is a bid. So long as the bid does not exceed the BIN, the BIN should typically remain in place unless the seller removes it.

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      • survivor

        The statement is accurate. Unless there is a reserve. If the bids do not meet reserve, the BiN remains. Once the reserve is exceeded, the BiN disappears. No reserve? The first bid removes the BiN.

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  16. D. King

    I’ve been a seller since 1999, too, with over 21,000 feedbacks. It has been that way as long as I can recall, at least for the main site. Perhaps the Ebay Motors site is different.

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    • Doug Towsley

      I have never in my recollection ever sold anything on the main ebay site. Always eBay motors. Wait…………. I actually tried selling some albums and CDs but not a lot of success (More trouble than it was worth) So, that was 13 years back and dont recall that.
      However on eBay motors I can say that is not the case at all with BIN disapearing. They only way it does is if the highest bid IS at the BIN price in which case the auction ends.

      I sometimes will use BIN and put it well above my minimum price and pleased if someone seemingly over pays. However an object is worth what someone is willing to pay. So I price accordingly. Many people are going with BIN and fixed price sales which is what eBay seems to want. I hate that. eBay is NOT Amazon and never will be. The whole idea of an auction is the bidding and to get the most of what the market will pay. I have said for 15 years now the best damn thing FeeBay could do is run eBay motors differently than the main site. Stop making us sellers conform to policies that have NO relevance to the main site.
      A guy peddling old Ford or Harley parts has NOTHING in common with someone selling chinese knock off hand bags or Beanie Babies.

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  17. Doug Towsley

    Well new one on me,. In all the years I have been selling never heard of that before, But admittedly have not listed anything the last 2 years because I got jerked around repeatedly and got mad at FeeBay. Wonder how long this policy has been in place? Ill have to read up on sellers terms and see what the word is in the sellers forums.

    I am putting up several motorcycles for sale, and like it or not, FeeBay gets the attention,. Ill also be listing my 73 Chevy Luv with V8 and my 1966 Triumph TR4A Sports car soon.

    Ill do the typical “Seller reserves the right to end the auction at any time as these vehicles are for sale elsewhere” Ill be at Billet Proof Saturday up in Washington if you guys want to check out a good show its worth going to. Will be tons of hipsters and lots of girls with tattoos dressed up as Betty Page, Lets see if any have any money.

    1952 BSA 650, mid 1960s Triumph 650 Chopper, Mid 60s BSA Bobber, and a mid 60s Triumph 650 bobber plus all kinds of period Harley, British and misc Chopper parts and bits for stock, customs and some literature.

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  18. hhaleblian

    $22k with 5 days left. Guess I was wrong again. Agree on Beck quality and fun/$. I was attending a seminar about 20 minutes from the seller. Was tempted to take a look, but I wasn’t a serious player at $15k.

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  19. John L.

    The car is at $50k now. Someone is getting screwed and the seller is rolling in their sheets. I feel so bad for the winner. Car is not worth more than $20k

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    • Doug Towsley

      I disagree. Thats the beauty of an auction and the way it should be!

      An auction determines value is so many ways. In short something is worth what someone is willing to pay. Its the purest form on commerce.

      Now,,,,,,,if there is shill bidding or other shenanigans, thats another issue entirely. However this also validates my oft repeated rants about FeeBay. If you want to peddle Chinese knock off handbags or LED accy, then fixed prices are fine. But for rare old rusty and crusty vintage vehicles and parts the auction format is best. Feebay SHOULD run Motors seperately entirely from the main eBay site. Policys should reflect that.

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  20. hhaleblian

    I don’t get it. Chandelier bidding.

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  21. Mic Czech

    I feel really bad for the winning bidder on ebay. As someone who owns a Beck 550 Spyder today and is well aware of what they are worth, having done some pretty extensive research; the winning bidder got royally screwed.

    You can buy a brand new one, built to order for that money. Although I don’t think the seller was outright lying, there was no place on the ad that said “replica”, reproduction, tribute, etc. In the questions and answers to questions, the owner says Beck Spyder but still doesn’t say replica or when the car was actually built, like 1999. There is some level of responsibility on the buyer to know what he is looking at but you should have some ethics and ensure that when you use a word like “barn find”, that you include that its a replica too.

    There is some truth to these cars are worth what someone is willing to pay but I still find it a bit different between a 40 year old car and a 16 year old car. At least you can get some of your money back on a 40 year old car. The seller could put $35K into that car and still not sell it for much over $40K

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  22. D. King

    A lot of Ebay car sales are never paid. I’ve heard 50%, but I haven’t a source. This could be one of them…

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  23. ChasMember

    I agree with Mic Czech. The car is worth in the low to mid $20K range, and anyone who bid $50K is either out of touch with reality, or thinks that he got the deal of the century on a real Porsche 550 Spyder.
    In either case, the ad is deceiving, and does not acknowledge anywhere that it is a replica, or that it is not an original Porsche, and the year is not clearly disclosed either, or the fact that it is made of glasfibre and not of hand hammered aluminium panels.
    On the one hand, I think that anybody who is spending $50K on a vintage car should use due diligence to research what he is buying and should arrange for a personal inpsection, or at least inquire as to the heritage of the car, and if he does not, he deserves what he gets, especially if he thinks that he is “stealing” an original treasure from a naive seller.
    However, as a seller, there is a definite ethical obligation to disclose the details of a car offered for sale, and intentionally avoiding any mention of the replica nature, or year, or glasfibre construction of this car is outright misrepresentation, and should not be allowed.
    I sure hope that the buyer learns the details before he pays for and receives the car, or he is going to be very disappointed.

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  24. ChasMember

    The last sensible bid before a***a and 9***i got involved was $22,200, which would be a fair indication of market value for a barn find Beck Spyder. It is curious that a***a placed 19 bids in approximately two minutes, an effort to top the 9***i bid of $50K.
    Nobody else, besides these two bidders, bid after the current price rose above $22,200!
    Although I have no actual evidence, and this is pure conjecture, it almost appears as though a***a either emailed or called the seller to inquire about whether it was a real Porsche 550 Spyder, and the seller, smelling a sucker, had a shill (9***i) place a $50,000 bid, hoping that a***a would take the bait.
    a***a then trying to score the deal of the century, started bidding frantically with 19 higher and higher bids in only two minutes, until he bid higher than 9**i’s $50K. He then waited for three more days, holding his breath and hoping that no other saavy bidders would realize that this was a “real Porsche”, which it was not.
    If I am wrong, then that means that there were at least two bidders who thought that this Beck replica was worth $50K, or who thought that it was a real Porsche 550 Spyder!

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  25. D. King

    On the 26th someone finally asked “Is this a reproduction or an original spider? You do not indicate that.” It was answered correctly. I wonder if the 2 bids on the 26th were before or after this question was posted.

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  26. Mic Czech

    Just some added clarification for those ever interested, the going price for a used Beck or any of the other few builders in the US is $25-35K with ones below $30K needing some sorting or missing general options. They can be more of course but generally, you can expect $30K+. New ones can range up to $65K.

    On the engine, almost every one I have seen has an output of 130hp, middle range at about 160hp and some at 235hp. This with a curb weight of about 1400lbs. They are essentially go-carts on crack. The originals had 90 and won races at LeMans regularly.

    Unless they are water-cooled, which this one is not, they can run hot so the external oil cooler (the fan in the rear) is sometimes necessary and desired.

    Real Porsche guys love these cars but very few real ones were made, 90 to be exact and only a few were sent to the US. Most of them were trashed from racing which is what all were built for. Non-Porsche guys all ask if they are real and mostly just remember James Dean. They are an amazing amount of fun!

    If anyone sells one of these in better shape for $9-15K, have them call me first:)

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