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Looks Real: 1959 Porsche Speedster Replica

The car magazines of the 80s and 90s were laden with advertisements for both cars and parts that now look like absolute bargains in retrospect. I can remember ads for the Tire Rack showing BBS wheels that now trade hands for well over $2,000 as a complete set, and right along with those was almost always a full-page buy from Classic Motor Carriages, touting their latest Speedster or 356 replica. This is one of those cars, seemingly in excellent shape, and listed here on eBay with bids to $17,600 and no reserve.

In the world of replicas, most of us know too well that many of these creations fall far short of their stated intentions, which is to resemble a car of great value. The replica craze could likely trace its roots back to vanity and the desire to own a car that symbolizes wealth without having the sort of wealth necessary to own a real one. The CMC cars seemed to be built to a decent standard, and the proportions were spot-on. Even the soft top looks correct.

The interior is where kit cars can either sink or shine, and in this Speedster replica’s case, it’s clearly the latter. This is a beautifully-finished cabin with leather sport seats, a period-correct three-spoke steering wheel, and a full set of gauges set against a proper dash. The door panels are in good shape and the merlot-colored carpeting matches the exterior nicely. All in all, a very nicely detailed example.

The engine bay is obviously hiding a Volkswagen powerplant, but given the shared engineering between the original 356 and Beetle, it doesn’t look out of place. It’s a nice change of pace from exotic car replicas that look the part but have a 350 under the hood. This Speedster replica checks all the boxes and looks like a blast to drive, all for far less money and a much lower insurance premium than what the real deal would require.


  1. RayT Member

    I’m usually not a fan of replicas, but the two best-known Porsche “recreations” — the Speedster and Beck Spyder — are definite exceptions. I’d rather have either than its “real” counterpart, if for no other reason than not having to contend with very old, very hard-to-find and very pricey bits and pieces means a really neat car can be a daily driver.

    All I’d do is discard the “Porsche” badges — even more sketchy than adding “Ferrari” badges to a Dino 246 — and then go out and drive. And, depending on the Vee-Dub engine selected, the drive can be much faster today. Safer, too, with disc brakes and much better tires. It’ll even sound the same!

    Like 10
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice car. A real 356 engine will bolt right into this car if the new owner wanted more factory power. the VW engines can also be pumped up to more than double the original horse power. These cars are fun without having to worry about damaging a legion.

    Like 12
  3. Cadmanls Member

    This is a nice looking car and with the ability to bump power up, improvement in tires and brakes should be a fun driver.

    Like 3
  4. TomP

    Funny, I saw this car at a car show last weekend. The owner was telling everyone it was a real Porsche, haha…

    Like 2
  5. LCL

    Speaking of underfunded aspirations…
    The JC Whitney catalog of my youth once listed a CB-look antennae.
    No CB required. Just the antennae.

    Like 6
    • Fred

      I seem to remember a complete fake car phone also with roof mount antennae.

      Like 1
      • Paul Root

        I bought one as a gag gift. It was well received.

        Like 0
  6. ccrvtt

    John Prine’s second album cover featured him and a black Speedster, proof that he was enjoying the fruits of his early success in a proper manner. In addition to being one of America’s greatest songwriters he was also a car guy who surfed the net for old cars.

    While I’m fairly certain that the album cover Speedster was the genuine article it led me to an appreciation of these Porsches. I soon realized that the only one I’d ever be able to afford is a replica, and this one’s a beauty. And reasonably priced (so far). I’d take this ersatz Porsche any day.

    In that vein – in the ’70s there was an art forger named Elmyr de Hory who bilked many of the rich and famous. When the authorities contacted one of his victims and wanted to take her painting as evidence she emphatically rejected the offer. She figured owning a famous fake was more exciting than the real thing.

    Like 6
    • Tubdriver

      I think it was a convertible D on the cover… same lines, but IMHO more desirable, with roll up windows and comfier seats.

      John was as good as it gets and a great guy to boot.

      Like 1
      • ccrvtt

        I stand corrected. I could have sworn that was a Speedster windshield but it quite obviously is not.

        I found out that Prine bequeathed his 911 Turbo to Sturgill Simpson upon his demise. Seems like John lived his life like one of his songs – full of irony and good humor.

        Like 2
  7. Steveo

    I don’t know how ‘period-correct’ that 3-spoke steering wheel is. Maybe 1970’s period, but certainly not 1959.

    Like 9
  8. AnalogMan

    The 356 replicas look like they’d be fun to play around with, for what they are – a VW kit car. A well-sorted replica today probably drives about as well, if not maybe even better, than the original 356’s back then. What I don’t understand is the you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me prices some of these go for on BaT – getting into the $80k’s!!

    At some price in the teens it’s a fun alternative to a used Miata. But at 5 times that much, sometimes I just want to post on BaT and ask, ‘You people realize this is a replica and not the real thing, right?!’

    The market rules, and I guess some people are willing to pay new Corvette money for a VW kit car just to impress strangers.

    Like 2
  9. Jamie

    I’m not usually a fan of replicas, but this car is really nice. You wouldn’t have to worry about putting miles on it, or getting a door ding. Be a great car to cruise to local shows.

    Like 2
  10. Brakeservo

    Sorry but the interior is the biggest let down – typical kit kar gauges, steering wheel, shifter, heater controls and parking brake handle all SCREAM – VW!! Otherwise nice.

    Like 4
  11. Sean Howard

    I can’t say I find anything about this car that doesn’t scream “cheap replica”. From the interior, to exterior details to the crappy engine, I think Tyler Hoover’s 550 Beck with the Subie water-cooler is more authentic.

    Like 1

    A corv, 140 hp would be cheaper and better???

    Like 1
    • Sean Howard

      Subaru 2.2 litre. Will fit and easy to get parts. Already engineered and available.

      Like 1
    • That Corvair Guy Member

      I’ve seen one, a replica, fitted with a Corvair engine with a pair of triple throat Webers. That’s what I would do! It’s aircooled and there is no need to do any plumbing for coolant.

      Like 1
  13. Peter

    speedsters had side curtains; this car is more useful with roll up windows
    this looks closer to a Convertible D; 1960 era

    Definitely fun; i Drive a Intermeccanica 356 replica.
    better than a $125,000 rust bucket.
    goes as well and has the same cashe

    Like 2
    • Sean Howard


      If you could GET an original Speedster, no matter WHAT the condition, for $125k…

      Like 0
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      No roll ups on this one. It’s got the mounts on top to take the side curtains. I agree not putting the original style instruments in the dash takes away from the interior. The steering wheel is aftermarket. There are reproductions available but they are not cheap.

      Like 3
  14. MarkO

    I like that “wouldn’t worry about a door ding” comment. At 18 grand, I would still park it far away from any threat, and NOT next to any bigass SUVs or a pickups)
    It’s a matter of respect for the automobile itself and for the people that created such a beautiful homage to the original speedster.
    Kudos to Peter with his Intermeccanica 356 replica, which is clearly the finest 356 replica made. I drive an Interneccanica Squire SS-100…. Their build quality is quite good. It’s all about “smiles per Hour”.

    Like 1
  15. jwaltb

    I bought a Speedster from a friend back in the day for $400, drove the snot out of it for a year and sold it back to the same guy for $400.
    Those were the days…

    Like 1
  16. jaker76

    Drove an original back in the late 70’s and came close to buying it at $6000, but no garage and Midwest winters had to pass….oh those were the days…many years later in the late 80’s drove a beck Speedster and hind sight is 20/20, lol….oh well my days of getting in low sports cars are getting fewer but I would love to have this one in the garage for sunny day runs on the windy back roads!!!

    Like 1
  17. ccrvtt

    I stand corrected. I could have sworn that was a Speedster windshield but it quite obviously is not.

    I found out that Prine bequeathed his 911 Turbo to Sturgill Simpson upon his demise. Seems like John lived his life like one of his songs – full of irony and good humor.

    Like 0

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