Wingho Spexter Speedster: 1981 Porsche 911 Targa

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With enough time, money, and ambition, you can build pretty much any car you want. While it’s certainly popular to buy expensive things solely for the sake of buying expensive things, one could argue that true status comes from building your own object of desire. In this case, an individual set out to build the modern-day Porsche Speedster that he felt the factory was behind in developing. What you end up with is a heavily-customized machine that looks nothing like the 1981 911 Targa it’s based on. Find it here on Hemmings.com for $450,000 firm.

A gentleman by the name of Clyde Kwok had his own personal collection of Porsches and decided he needed a vehicle that captured the spirit of the vintage Speedsters in his collection but with a modern flair. He hired a local design firm to help bring his vision to life, and thus, the Wingho Spexter Speedster was born. The entire body of the donor car, a 1981 911 Targa, was stripped down with panels removed and replaced by Kevlar and fiber-glass composite bodywork. This was a true roadster in every way, with no roof, side windows, or cover of any kind. The styling cues are pure 80s, with the classic “turbofan”-style BBS wheels and smoked taillights.

The interior was also extensively re-imagined and makes any kit car from the same era look like a high school science experiment compared to what this designer created at the owner’s behalf. It features black foam seats baked into a custom fiberglass enclosure and the seats were cut down to accommodate a driver just under six feet tall. And lest you think this is some sort of bare-bones, half-baked kit, details like the doors having inner and outer shells that surround the original Porsche Targa doors inside remind you this car was built to very high standards and with an unlimited budget.

The engine is the original Targa mill that has been upgraded to push out a robust 252 horsepower, with those gains made possible by upgrades such as performance headers and a stainless-steel muffler by Monty of Australia. The presentation is very clean and done to exacting standards to make this custom Speedster look as close to a factory-style production car as possible. Sadly, it has only been driven around 100 KMs annually, so it has not seen much use in the time since it was created. Of course, given the custom nature of the build, it would be devastating to imagine it getting damaged in a careless fender bender. Who made a better Speedster? This private owner or the factory?

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Comments

  1. Fahrvergnugen FahrvergnugenMember

    Well, it’s interesting. Liking the RX8 tail light panel.

    Like 2
  2. alphasudMember

    If the seller is asking 450K and he is firm on the price he might own it for the rest of his life. I’m a 911 purist and the only reimagining I’m okay with would be a specialty shop like Singer. To me a 911 is timeless beauty that never gets old. Maybe they retained the original Bosch CIS for emissions requirements but a set of Webers or a ITB EFI set up would be the way to go.

    Like 8
    • jwaltb

      Dreamers gonna dream. It’s not worth anything like that to anyone else.

      Like 4
    • Chuck

      Agreed, I wouldn’t pay $45,000 for it.

      Like 3
  3. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    Speed Racers new car, HA, HA,,

    Like 6
  4. nlpnt

    I’d love to know when the conversion was done. I’d guess around 1988-1992.

    Like 0
    • SubGothius

      This was featured in Motor Trend’s June 1988 issue, so must have been designed and fabricated a bit earlier than that.

      We can only hope the ’81 911 Targa donor car was a salvaged wreck, which may explain why they even used a Targa at all, if that’s just what was available in otherwise generally sound mechanical and lower-body structural condition (perhaps a rollover victim?).

      Like 3
  5. CCFisher

    I’d rather have the 911 Targa that was sacrificed to make it.

    Like 12
  6. Howie

    Cool in Canada.

    Like 1
  7. Scott Marquis

    Looks like Saturn Sky replica.

    Like 3
  8. Danny B

    Just plain ugly

    Like 7
    • jwaltb

      To each one’s own. I think it looks decent, though I’m not sure I’d want to sit in those seats more than 60 miles a year.

      Like 0
  9. Haig L Haleblian

    Check out the Stan Townes Speedster

    Like 0
  10. gippy

    Nice build quality, but the more that weird name rolled around in my head the more it came out as Exto Sphincter.

    Like 2
    • jwaltb

      Spexter sounds like I’m lungering.

      Like 0
  11. Rw

    Duel Dellortos would be way to go.

    Like 0
  12. Joe Haska

    Any custom car is only as good as Its design and how it is received by the audience and the critics who see it. Whenever you decide to change, modify or customize a car, you need to realize there is a good chance many people will not like it, in fact maybe no one will. If you don’t know that, you are probably going to be very disappointed.

    Like 1
  13. Jack Quantrill

    They used to call the 356 Speedster bathtub looking. This is worse!

    Like 1
  14. SubGothius

    Dr. Kwok was a professor (now retired) of mechanical engineering at Concordia University; his Wingho Auto is a rather interesting shop in Montreal that’s still in business since at least the ’80s. Via their site I found a Hagerty article with more details about this car.

    They also designed and built the Concordia II concept car (obviously inspired in large part by Pininfarina’s Ferrari Modulo concept) that later became the basis of the “Black Moon” supercar in the film Black Moon Rising starring Tommy Lee Jones.

    Like 0
  15. Naptown Mark

    If this was a Hot Wheels, it would be cool. As a real car, it feels…cartoonish? Or like a concept sketch that magically became tangible?

    Like 2
  16. Mike

    Trying to make a Speedster from a 911 is a little awkward. The 911 shape is too big with the huge caboose in the back and nothing is really stripped down like the original. I thought the Boxster would be a better candidate for a Speedster conversion.

    Like 3
    • David Nieuwenhuis

      This conversion was built in the 80’s, so no Boxsters yet. I remember it being in some magazines back then. I think they tried to market it.

      Like 1
      • SubGothius

        Indeed, and there’s some conjecture this may well have influenced the idea and design of the eventual Boxster.

        Like 0
  17. rick bradner

    The history of the Spexter – The car is a one-off done by Paul Deutschman, who has had a fairly successful design career; including the Callaway Corvette — http://www.deutschmandesign.com/en
    Is this car worth $450K? Not to me, but then again, I don’t think any restomod C2 is worth $200K+ As for the angst over the loss of a 911; seriously? Porsche has built like a million of these things –

    Back in the 80s, the automaker even inspired many aspiring engineers to make their own Porsche-inspired creations. One of these was the Wingho Spexter, a car that could easily be mistaken for a flashy Porsche 911. What’s the history behind this interesting car, and what made it so special?
    A non-Porsche that looks like a Porsche that inspired future Porsches, how much more meta could this get?
    Hagerty says that the Wingho Spexter first made its public appearance on a 1988 issue of Motor Trend magazine. The headline suggested that the car may have been made by Porsche, leading many to believe it was the next-gen 911. In reality, the Wingho Spexter was actually a one-off car commissioned by Clyde Kwok.
    Kwok got the idea after he saw the Elf, a body kit designed to look like the Honda Accord with some roadster elements. This kit was made by Spex Design, founded by Kell Warshaw and Paul Deutschman. Kwok told Deutschman that he wanted a modern version of the 356 Speedster, only with a tubular body style and no roof.
    Deutschman got to work, drawing out a body concept that was inspired by the Porsche 911 Targa. The Wingho Spexter got the same tinted headlight covers and rounded front fenders. Deutschman blended simplistic elements from the 356 Speedster, going as far as removing the A-pillars completely.
    The small interior is also free from cosmetic trappings, and it can only seat two passengers. All it has is three switches, a shifter, and the same gauge cluster layout as the Speedster. Kwok owned a business called Wingho Auto Classique, so the finished product was known as the Wingho Spexter.
    How much power does it have?
    The Wingho Spexter has the same engine as the Porsche 911 Carrera Targa. It’s a 3.2-liter flat-six unit capable of 207 horsepower, with an advertised 0-60 mph time of 6.3 seconds. That was already impressive in the late 80s, but real-world testing from Car and Driver proved that it was much quicker.
    It’s paired with a five-speed manual transmission. The engine is activated with a push-button start, making it even more advanced for the time. No door handles mar the exterior of this speeding bullet, so you get in by using a solenoid-controlled latch.
    Did Porsche copy the Wingo Spexter?
    Only months after Kwok commissioned the Wingho Spexter, Porsche would reveal a new 911 Speedster concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Upon a visit to Porsche’s design studio after the Spexter was built, Deutschman claimed that Porsche had definitely taken notice. Porsche would go on to reveal the Boxster five years later, a namesake eerily similar to the Spexter.
    While the Boxster concept had some fundamental design differences, it had the same color and basic shape as the Spexter. We can’t really call Porsche a copycat, especially when the Spexter was based on two Porsche models. Plus, there are no hard feelings: Deutschman was honored by the possible connection between the Spexster and the next game-changing Porsche car.

    Like 2
  18. jwaltb

    Nothing compares in beauty to an original Speedster from the 50s, imo. The later version Porsche made is an abomination.

    Like 0
  19. Brett Lundy

    I appreciate the nod to the 959 that during that time was the ultimate Porsche to base the speedster interpretation off of

    Like 1

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