Fantasy Friday – What’s In A Name?

Here’s a nice little litmus test to show how much people are willing to pay for what they believe is the genuine article. In this case, it’s a Porsche Speedster.

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I think the Speedster might be where Porsche’s habit of success with selling stripped-out versions of its cars got started.

The Speedster was basically a lightweight version of Porsche 356 convertible. The idea originated in the US, where Porsche’s distributor wanted a cheaper, lighter model to sell to US customers. The Speedster had a shortened, removable windscreen, basic fixed-back bucket seats, plastic curtains for side windows and minimal clutter on the dashboard.

There are a lot of Speedsters on the road nowadays. A lot more than Porsche built themselves. That’s because they’re a favourite of the replica industry, cars that aren’t the genuine article but made to the original specifications and featuring a very high standard of fit and finish.

So why do so many people want a Speedster? Buyers of genuine Speedsters would have multiple reasons – classical beauty, performance, investment. Buyers of replica Speedsters won’t get the same investment value, but get much of the performance and all of the beauty.

And beautiful it is, too. You probably won’t understand the language spoken, but then you don’t need to understand it in order to appreciate the Speedster.

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A genuine Porsche Speedster can set you back a fortune. The black one pictured below with a removable factory hardtop is selling in the UK right now for £295000.

Black Speedster

There’s one for sale at the moment, however, that’ll cost you quite a lot less.

It is reported to be a genuine 1957 Porsche Speedster but it will require a little bit of fettling in order to reach the high prices that other genuine Speedsters can achieve.

The car is currently for sale on Ebay in the US (don’t click that link just yet – read on). Here’s a bit of the seller’s description:

This Speedster was found as is after sitting outside for a unknown number of years. It was pulled from an old Roosevelt estate on the North Shore of Long Island. It is believed to have been a race car owned by the Roosevelt’s and run at Bridgehampton Raceway in the late 50’s to early 60’s. It appears that it was crashed at some point in history and was parked. It still has part of the racing numbers on the side along and a roll bar.

As you can see from the pictures it is in extremely rough shape. But it is still a real 1957 Speedster.

This is where we get to the testing point – what’s in a name?

PorscheSpeedster

We know that a genuine Porsche Speedster is an achingly beautiful car that is surprisingly sprightly for it’s age. We know that they’re coveted by collectors and even more so if they’ve got genuine racing history. The big question, then – How much are you willing to part with for a ‘car’ that’s barely recognisable, simply because you want the genuine article?

Well, as I write this, there are 12 bids on this vehicle and the last bid is $25,400. Yes, more than $25,000.

I guess it’s time to show you some more photos. Believe it or not, the photo above shows the car’s good side 🙂

Click to enlarge.

I reckon the only salvageable parts of this car are the plates from the coachbuilder and the door latch. I guess if you replace everything around that coachbuilder’s plate – and I mean everything – and if you do it using genuine spec metalwork, you might still have something that could technically be referred to as a genuine Speedster.

Or you might have a really cool piece of sculpture for the ultimate man-cave.

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8 Comments

  1. I think with a little elbow grease and some Wynns Dent-a-way it will all buff out. Quiz time – what (equally) famous name did the coachbuilder Reutter Karosserie become?

    KJ

  2. Of course, the irony here is that every time Porsche makes a stripped out, lower cost version, the market then prices it up for the rarity value
    .
    According to the incorruptible source of all knowledge:
    “In 1964, after some success in motor-racing with various models including the 550 Spyder, the company launched the Porsche 911: another air-cooled, rear-engined sports car, this time with a six-cylinder “boxer” engine. The team to lay out the body shell design was led by Ferry Porsche’s eldest son, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche (F. A.). The design phase for the 911 caused internal problems with Erwin Komenda, who led the body design department until then. F. A. Porsche complained Komenda made unauthorized changes to the design. Company leader Ferry Porsche took his son’s drawings to neighboring chassis manufacturer Reuter. Reuter’s workshop was later acquired by Porsche (so-called Werk 2). Afterward Reuter became a seat manufacturer, today known as Keiper-Recaro.”

  3. This is the part of the ‘collector’ market that I do not understand. Whether it’s a replica or significantly ‘restored’ (read: rebuilt using myriad newly fabricated parts), it’s NOT original, no matter which nameplates, frames or engine blocks are retained. It’s more new than old!

  4. If you look at it as a piece of art, it’s cheap for what you get: early work from a a top-tier name, great lines, limited supply, authenticity. It also strikes a few classic themes: mid-century optimism, decay, speed/transportation, pop iconography (in a Warhol way).
    It may seem overpriced, but you can’t even get a minor work from a second-tier mid-century artist at the current price ($25K). Heck, if you are the sort of person who would buy this as art, you probably can’t get a bathroom remodelled at that price.

  5. It keeps going up… You’ll have to switch the 5 and the 2 around pretty soon here. (And NO, I won’t tell you how much I’ll bid on it at the very last minute… I know that either Eggs or Swade will out bid me at the very last microsecond!) 😉

    ~Peter

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