The Porsche 550 was produced between 1953 and 1956, and to this day it remains one of the most famous and replicated sportscars ever built. A price tag of $7,000 USD and a limited run of 90 cars ensured its exclusivity, with celebrities of the caliber of Claude Picasso, Ralph Lauren, Jerry Seinfeld, and of course, silver screen legend James Dean, being some of the model’s most notable owners along the years.
Conceived as a lightweight sports version of the Porsche 356, the 550 featured a twin-cam, 117bhp 4-cylinder boxer engine, tubular chassis, drum brakes, a fully synchronized transmission, and a limited-slip differential. The combination of light weight and relatively powerful and responsive drivetrain made the 550 achieve speeds up to 200kmph (120mph) and numerous class wins and podium finishes in races like Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana, a moniker that still survives to this day in new Porsche models.
This Beck Spyder is a derivative replica of the Porsche 550, made in fibreglass over a tubular frame, using a 2.2L Volkswagen 4-cylinder engine to retain the feel and sound of the original Porsche drivetrain. A car manufactured in 1992, the Beck Spyder has proven to be among of the best-driving recreations of the 550 anywhere in the market, and offers a comparable experience while still being affordable and easy to service.