By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

Sure, you’ve seen plenty of silver Porsche 550 Spyder replicas with wide-five wheels, but like me, you’re still not about to let one pass without a checking it out. That’s because you just can’t top perfection, and while perfection is surely subjective, this Beck 550 is making its case.

For the quality and ingenuity of their builds, Chuck Beck and Special Edition have become fixtures in the Porsche replica game. And it’s not hard to see why while looking at this 550 Spyder build.

Their 550s start out with a custom chassis made with 3-inch DOM tubing, finished off with a hand-laid fiberglass body. Customers spec out their desired engine configurations with dealers, with most selecting improved Volkswagen units, or modern Subaru swaps.

I’m a fan of the approach here, as the original buyer specified a standard 1,915 cc flat-four from CB performance. In its stock configuration, this engine probably made about 120 hp — right in the neighborhood of the original 550’s Fuhrmann engine. Going above and beyond, a set of Weber carburetors, MSD ignition, Porsche valve covers and a Sebring-type exhaust system are now fitted. The seller reports that the carburetors, ignition and timing were all recently serviced by Specialized Porsche, in Riverside, California, and that the engine runs great and pulls strong. With the right presentation and period-correct, air-cooled performance, we feel the builder got it right here.

The exterior of the Spyder has everything else you’d want in a 550 as well, from the unique mesh headlight covers, to the Spyder-styled door mirror and leather strap ties. Silver wide-five wheels are wrapped in Michelin tires and a convincing array of trim and emblems is present.

The black painted sections on the rear fenders are referred to as “spears,” and different colored spears were used to differentiate the factory silverwerke cars. These are often replicated in red, to honor Hans Hermann’s successful “red-tail” car No. 41. It’s hard to say what car the builder was paying tribute to (if any in particular), but the contrasting black stripes create a dramatic effect.

Finishing out the complete package is a nice interior, complete with a wood-rimmed Nardi wheel and a compliment of Porsche-style gauges on a black backdrop. The tan leather seats are a nice touch, and racing belts and fire extinguisher complete the race car vibe.

Purchased in 2007, this Beck has covered just over 9,000 miles since completion. The seller estimates that he has over $40,000 in the car, but is willing to cut it loose for $36,500. That may not sound like enough depreciation for 12 years of ownership, but I don’t think this car is too far off on price.

See the ad here on Inland Empire, California, Craigslist.