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Porsche 356 Replica, White, for sale in Charlotte, North Carolina, for $25,995.
Looking for a way to experience the Porsche Speedster legacy without spending six figures? Take a good look at this 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster replica that has been beautifully assembled and finished, and is available for a fraction of the price of a real one. Best of all, it delivers the same visceral experience, the same sounds, the same taut handling as an original, without the worries that come with actually driving a modern masterpiece.
Built by Vintage Speedsters, and with just over 600 miles since it was completed, this car accurately replicates the timeless Speedster shape. Formed in lightweight fiberglass instead of steel, it is instantly recognizable with those curvaceous fenders and chopped down windscreen. The finish work on the body is exceptionally nice, with good panel gaps and no waves in the fiberglass, and there's something to be said for the white paint that will stand out in a sea of bright red and slick silver Speedsters. It's also surprisingly complete, with front and rear bumpers that have been color-matched to the body, stainless side trim, accurate 'Speedster' badges, and even a period-correct luggage rack on the rear deck. Other details that will delight you include the very stylish side mirror which is like a piece of modern sculpture, and the rally-inspired protective cages over the headlights. This one even carries a replica of the original Reutter badge affixed to real Speedsters, making the illusion very compelling.
Blue leather buckets and a painted dash take you back to the early days of sports cars with its back-to-basics attitude. The seats are more comfortable than they look, and it's more like you wear this car than simply sit in it. The big banjo-style steering wheel is very authentic, and gives fingertip control of the steering without looking out of place. Three round gauges face the driver, with the tachometer in the center, as has been Porsche tradition since the earliest days. Anyone who has driven a vintage 356 or even a later 911 will recognize the faces and be instantly at home. The stubby shifter feels good, although it can't hide its humble origins, but it is nicely finished with a matching blue leather shift boot. There's an upholstered package shelf behind the seats, and the top stows neatly under a matching vinyl top boot. The front-mounted trunk is finished with matching blue carpets, which is probably not authentic, but it makes this fabricated car seem much more finished than most.
Hanging out behind the rear wheels is a 1600cc dual port VW flat four, which is, for all intents and purposes, a close relative of the engines that powered the original Speedsters. Thanks to a robust aftermarket, it can be made to perform as well as or even better than the original motors, and you won't worry about damaging a $20,000 Porsche engine when you take this one out for some fun. It's fed by a pair of 40mm carburetors and an electric fuel pump, and a big 60 amp alternator is probably overkill for the basic systems aboard this little car. It spins a 4-speed manual transmission, just like the original, and the shift linkage is light and reasonably precise, which is actually very authentic. It's solid underneath with none of the usual VW issues, and has clearly been built to drive with undercoated surfaces and rugged mechanicals throughout. For additional confidence in the turns, this Speedster also sports front disc brakes. Wheels are chrome-plated steel discs with hubcaps wearing 195/55/15 Hankook radials.
The fun of a Speester isn't in all-out speed, and even the originals aren't particularly fast. The joy of driving these cars is in the balance of power, handling, and braking, and they can be driven at 8/10ths without a race track and in complete safety. A modern Porsche with near-200 MPH capabilities needs a lot of room to run, but these cars are happiest on a winding country road where you can clip apexes and match your heel-and-toe downshifts to power out of corners. The feeling of an honest machine going about its business without the insulation of power steering, power brakes, and all the other unnecessary baggage that comes from heavy modern cars is hard to describe. But one drive in this Speedster and you'll be convinced, as Dr. Porsche was, that lightweight cars are a lot of fun to drive. Call today!
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Transmission:4 speed manual
Location:Charlotte, North Carolina