- Chassis # 550000771
- Engine # N/A
- Showing 4,778 Miles From New
- Fantastic Value & Fun
Porsches first major dedicated “racer” would appear in the year 1953 in the guise of the 550 Spyder. They had already cut their teeth in the business, producing the highly successful 356 which itself was no slouch on the racing circuits of the era. The 550 was different, however, engineered from the start as a car that could be driven to the track, thrashed around the circuit, and then driven home. Its tiny size, low weight and punchy 1.4 liters 4 cam air cooled engine all combined to make it something of a legend from the unveiling. Its many period race wins and low production numbers, 90 total cars over a three year period, mean that the 550 is a highly coveted piece of Stuttgart silver and when demand is high, and supply is low, the aftermarket usually steps in to help.
The company known as Beck has been in business for close to 30 years now, helping to provide people a high dollar driving experience at a fraction of the cost. During that time they have become known as one of the premier builders of high quality, faithful recreation cars. They generally start with a proprietary, hand-built chassis, on top of which they lay their beautiful fiberglass bodies. These cars could be provided as “rollers” or with the drivetrain fully installed. Engine and transmission choices are plentiful, but the most popular tend to be VW derived flat fours; a perfect fit for this little racer.
This 550 Spyder recreation, chassis number 55000077, is an early car, most likely built in Beck’s second year of production. These early cars were built in Brazil and imported into the United States, not a bad thing, as they were all still heavily scrutinized and more than live up to the quality that has become synonymous with the Beck name. The engine in this example is a flat air-cooled four-cylinder, most likely displacing 2165cc’s, and was built by CB Performance in Farmersville, California. The Transmission was built by Rancho Performance in southern California and is of a 3.88 ring and pinion type with four forward gears and reverse. Having covered a mere 4778 kilometers (approx. 2968 miles) from the time it was produced, this car is in fantastic condition throughout. Not much is known regarding the service history of this car, but everything appears to be in reasonably good working order. The factory was contacted to attempt to acquire more information on the car, but they could only provide what is listed in this description.
On the outside of the car, the Silver Blue paint shines and has a consistent clean finish over the whole of the vehicle. There are no significant issues to be noted beside some minor flecking from stones during regular use as well as a small blemished area above the rear muffler which is not readily visible except when down low, presumably from the muffler bouncing when traveling over bumps. Seeing as the body is comprised of fiberglass, it remains straight and free of any corrosion or rot. The small amounts of brightwork on the car are all relatively tidy with no pitting or major flaws to note. All lenses on the car are clean and free of cracking. The body gaps are consistent with proper fitting doors as well as front and rear clamshells. The leather straps securing the rear clamshell often can get dry and cracked, but these appear to be in good condition, still pliable and soft.
Entering the cockpit, one finds the red interior neat and cleanly trimmed. The interior is supremely spartan, by design of course. The seats are in superb condition, free of any tears, pulls or creasing, the Brazilian leather, still soft and smooth. The red carpeting is free of any significant blemishes but does show its age in the form of slight fading in areas. The steering wheel is in good order and shows no signs of yellowing or cracking as this style commonly tends to do. There is some slight scuffing on the horn button, but nothing of consequence. All three gauges function flawlessly and are bright and blemish free. All buttons and switches function and a small vintage Heuer Stopwatch adorns the dash as well, providing an excellent “period” flourish to the cabin. The front windshield is clean and free of any cracks or pitting.
Opening the rear clamshell reveals the mid-mounted Volkswagen derived 2.1-liter engine with its Weber 44 IDF carburetors. Overall, the engine area is reasonably tidy and shows little signs of heavy use. All hoses and cables appear to be supple and absent of cracking or rot. All electronics look to be in good, clean, dry order. The rear mounted spare tire looks to have possibly never been used. The chassis number, 55000077, is stamped on the rear cross member, below the transmission.
Opening the front clamshell reveals little other than a small storage space as well as the fuel tank. Overall this space is clean and tidy. The top and side curtains, which come with the car, are stowed in the bottom of the front storage area where they fit neatly tucked away. It also comes with a soft top and side curtains. The fuel tank looks to be in good order with no issues to note. All other surfaces under that front clamshell are free of any cracking or wear.
The underside of the car is consistent with the rest of the vehicle, showing signs of usage but remaining in solid clean condition overall. Suspension components appear to be in good order, and all braking hardware looks well kept. Despite the car being quite low, it shows no significant signs of heavy bottoming out or scraping. The floor pans are absent of any cracking, denting, etc. The underside of the engine is in good order, indicating a tightly sealed and leak free motor.
Insert the key, press the starter and the motor turns over easily. The flat four comes to life with a loud growl, and stereotypical air cooled sound and settles into an even idle. The clutch peddle is relatively light, and the gears engage easily. The throttle pedal has a bit of a hard spot in the initial push, but once that barrier is broken, the car revs up freely producing an excellent auditory response from such a small car. The brakes are solid and free of vibration and provide more than adequate braking force. The car feels light and nimble on the road, the suspension is nice and tight, just as you would want from a little racer like this.
With such low production numbers, having the chance to purchase a 550 Spyder is very rare. Throw in the skyrocketing costs it takes to actually purchase one, piloting a 550 Spyder quickly moves out of the realm of reality for most men. But luckily the folks over at Beck make a supremely good recreation. Sitting behind the wheel, you will find yourself hard-pressed to be contemplating the differences between this and genuine car as you will be having far too much fun. With go-cart like handling, a punchy air-cooled flat four-cylinder engine, and drop-dead gorgeous vintage good looks, there is so much to love about this Beck 550 Spyder.