Beautiful replica built by Vintage Speedsters. Test and tune miles only. Brand new in every way. Top, side curtains, boot included. Upgraded engine, disc brakes, stereo. Is there anything more fun than this?
Vintage Speedsters is the biggest name in the 356 replica market, and as a result, their cars are proven winners, beautifully built, and surprisingly accurate. Adding to that delightful vintage appearance is the Stone Gray paint, which can be challenging to photograph but looks absolutely stunning in person. As I said, it’s a bit subtle, with hints of green and tan in it—think khaki—and expert finish quality that is befitting a real 356, not merely a replica. Hyper-accurate details include the hood ornament, the badges behind the front wheels, and the single exhaust grille on the engine cover, denoting the early 356A on which this car is modeled. It’s also been treated to a few competition-spec items designed to give it a vintage road rally flair, including leather buckles for the trunk, grilles over the headlights, and, of course, the gumballs and other decals on the bodywork. The effect is rather pleasing and there’s nobody who doesn’t fall in love with this little car the moment they see it. Flashy yet subtle, this car nails it.
Brown leather works extremely well with the Stone Gray bodywork, giving the humble Speedster an upscale look befitting its reputation. The seats are correct replicas of the original, light weight but supportive and comfortable for an all-day drive. There’s more matching leather on the door panels, which include handy map pockets, and the dashboard which really dresses the car up in a big way. The gauges are exact reproductions of the original Porsche dials, complete down to measuring speed and distance in kilometers, with this car showing just over 160 test and tune kilometers since it was completed (no, that’s not a misprint—it’s brand new!). The banjo-style steering wheel is another nod to the past, as are the Porsche emblem and body badge over in front of the passenger. For modern driving comfort, there is a digital AM/FM/iPod stereo that actually sounds pretty good, as well as a set of seat belts for safety and to help hold you in place during spirited driving. And this is no fair weather toy, either, because it comes with a full black canvas convertible top and matching side curtains, which seal up reasonably well. The top stows easily under a matching black boot, and there’s a neatly upholstered little cushion for the rear package shelf that gives it a finished appearance. Up front, the trunk is fully carpeted and contains access for the fuel cell and brake master cylinder.
Since the 356 and Beetle are (distant) cousins, the DNA feels right and the “big block” 1915 cc flat-four makes for entertaining driving indeed. Making about 90 horsepower, it’s surprisingly quick and thanks to that wild exhaust system, the soundtrack is definitely Porsche, not VW. Dual carburetors help build horsepower and there’s a correct generator up top. You’ll note accurate details like the Bosch ignition system, heater and fan vent hoses, and fully finished inner panels. Key it up and it starts almost instantly and idles well even when cold, so someone spent some time getting it set up just right. Parts are still plentiful, maintenance is a snap, and this is one of the least expensive hobby cars you can own in terms of care. Nice, right?
The transmission is a 3.88-geared VW 4-speed, which, as you’d expect, has the usual vague shifter. The pan is from a shortened 1968 VW Beetle so the proportions are exactly right, and it’s fully restored and brand new in just about every way—no rusty used stuff here. The front suspension is lowered and fitted with performance springs and shocks, while the rear trailing arms are beautiful pieces that give this car razor-sharp handling. Disc brakes have been installed up front but use clever aluminum hats that disguise them as vintage drums, which is essential when you’re using those oh-so-cool “wide five” wheels. There’s also a beautifully made exhaust system with a polished stainless muffler and it does indeed sound racy. Relatively fat 185/65/15 Pirelli radials are fitted all around, keeping with a stock look but upgrading the grip in a big way.
This car cost nearly $39,000 to build and you can call Vintage Speedsters to roll you one just like it. Or you can buy this one with just test and tune miles on it for a significant discount. It’s loaded up with optional extras (the engine, transmission, and brake upgrades add up to nearly $2000 by themselves) and it is ready to enjoy right now, without the wait. Real Speedsters won’t be getting cheaper, but this one delivers more than 90% of the fun at about 20% of the price. Hard to argue with that bit of math. Call today!
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com