eBay Find of the Week: Porsche 550 Spyder
We’ve featured a number of Volkswagens in our weekly eBay Find stories because VWs are fun, often affordable classics for aficionados and first-time collectors alike. A number of interesting vehicles have used VW frames and powertrains, from Brazilian-built Pumas, to iconic dune buggies, and several replicas including a number of Porsche 356s, an odd Mercedes replica roadster, and an MG with a rear-engine layout. Go figure.
Even the Historic Vehicle Association recently recognized the Meyers Manx, so there is no need to dismiss VW variations out of hand.
Today’s eBay find, a 1989 Beck continuation of a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, could be called “replica” or kit car, so it comes with the baggage that sometimes entails. But as a car maker, Chuck Beck is well regarded in his own right, and we recognize his cars in our Hagerty Valuation Tools.
Perhaps “homage” is a better word for these continuation cars. The body proportions of the Beck 550 Spyder were quite authentic while also managing to add a couple of inches of space for taller drivers. I’ve seen a few in person and they were strikingly well made.
Road testers were very positive about the handling and engineering of the car, which used a custom-built square tube frame rather than a VW pan, and high-quality fiberglass for the body instead of the original aluminum.
These were usually sold as unfinished kits, with the onus on the buyer to install the engines and transmissions. They were also available as turn-key cars. This eBay example is one of the the former, according to the seller. The engine installation was apparently completed years after Beck built the body.
The listing isn’t terribly specific about the mechanicals and power output of the car, other than it’s a VW dual-port. It is claimed to have only 1,900 miles since it was built around 1989.
Beck offered engine packages, the base engine being a 125-horsepower VW unit that bested the 110-hp output of the original 550. But owners could install plenty of different engines wanted, even Subaru’s flat engines. Some of these could be frighteningly quick—definitely a question that should be posed to the seller.
Regardless of whether it’s referred to as a replica or a car that pays homage to the original, this Beck looks like it packs a lot of fun for a tiny fraction the cost for a real Porsche 550, which demands millions.