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Old 07-01-2003, 05:14 PM   #1
chroni
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Post Beck 904: Is it too stupid?

I'm seeking the opinion of fellow Porsche lovers. So, please give a no holds barred reflection of your thoughts about the Porsche replicas that are seemingly growing in numbers (possibly in build quality?).

As a Porsche purist, these replicas have been a thorn in my side for a long time. A VW engine in a fiberglass shell hardly equals the legendary 550 Spyder or 356 Speedster we all love - and would love to own. Aren't these remakes simply a go-cart meant to come from the shelves of Toys-R-Us?

But recently I saw that Beck Motorsports is making a 904. Here's a link:
<a href="http://www.zipp.com.mx/avanti/beck_package.htm" target="_blank">http://www.zipp.com.mx/avanti/beck_package.htm</a>

The 904 was always a fiberglass car ...and this "kit" fits the 901 or 915 trans, as well as any 911 style engine up to the 3.6L ...SC brakes ...in short, Porsche OEM parts on a much more modern frame built just for this model, no hack work. The few performance numbers I've read do impress (impress me anyway).

Even as a purist, I do think certain P-cars and resto projects beg for tasteful upgrades and enhancements. So, the debate on the "kit car" versus "custom P-car" has come back to me as this 904 seemingly has everything in the right place and every place has the right thing. The true test will be to drive it, yes of course, and when I can I will.

But let me ask you, if a person where to drive up in this Beck 904, would you cringe or applaude? Are my Porsche "morals and manners" dipping? Should I retreat to Street Rodded Fords and Muscled out Chevys? Is the same car going to still function in ten years, twenty years or more of avid driving?

Just looking for a barometer here.
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Old 07-01-2003, 09:49 PM   #2
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The most recent Excellence magazine has an article on 356 speedster/roadster "replicas" that use various (and upgraded) Porsche running gear. Personally, I think they're pretty sweet. To answer your question, I would have to say how I feel about a "replica" depends on the quality of said "replica", including how many actual Porsche components are used and how "faithful" it is to the real car. I've seen some of these reps you mentioned and they're just beautiful. I wouldn't be ashamed to own one and I would say overall they're pretty well received. But yes, I'd avoid those that are just a reshaped Beetle.

One more point...how they're presented also says a lot about the cars and owners. For instance...the car manufacturers in this month's Excellence make sure there are no Porsche badges on anything (unless the owner puts them on by him/herself) and makes it clear that they're not building Porsches, but cars in the same spirit. I think Beck fits in that same catagory. Conversely, if you come accross a guy with that reshaped Beetle who insists it's a Porsche...well...that's wrong on so many levels.
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Old 07-01-2003, 09:56 PM   #3
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I'd love to drive one, but the Porsche club guys will shred you-they sneer at all the 4cyl waterpumpers, the 928, the 996's even-you'll get no respect.

The only guys who are ok to own replica's also own the real thing-I remember an article on a German company making 904 clones using factory jigs, etc-and they sold a few to owners of REAL 904's who wanted to be able to drive the cars and not worry!
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Old 07-02-2003, 01:48 AM   #4
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Well, I guess I'll be the stereotypical, purist contrarian here, potential flames be damned. But you did ask for opinions. Whether you should care what those opinions are is another matter entirely...

I wouldn't have any more interest in owning a fake 904 than I would in owning a fake 550, or any other "replica", "clone" or fake car, for that matter. At its essence, that's what we're talking about here, and I'm afraid that from my own perspective, I don't see the point.

I've driven a couple of Beck 550's in the past. (One stock, one modified with well placed, additional, welded-in chassis stiffening. The additional structural bracing made a world of difference in the dynamics, IMO.) I've never seen their 904 replica, but I would guess that it would be pretty easy to distinguish from one of the 120 or so real 904's. I doubt the replicas would copy any of the bonding of the fiberglass body panels to the flat metal frame portions to acheive the needed rigidity.(...why copy a period design flaw/necessity?) I do, however, have a neighbor with a Beck Lister, which I suppose is as more or less interesting as any comparable Cobra kit car. Most of the Beck stuff seems to have acceptable build quality, at least when compared to the rather abysmal standards of the typical kit car.

(Incidentally, I would venture that Beck and other replica makers refrain from adding Porsche badges not out of any tasteful self restraint, but rather from fear of the certain lawsuits and enough rapid cease and desist orders from PCNA to put them out of business within a week...)

Don't misunderstand me. The Beck 550's were definitley fun, quick cars to drive, but I have absolutely no desire to own one.

While its certainly a matter of personal preference, I could never get around the issue of authenticity, or lack thereof. What you would have is a car masquerading as something it is not,...i.e. something actually desirable like a real 904. (or 550, et al)

At the end of the day, regardless of quality, just too cheesy for me. Again, speaking only for myself, I can't see getting much of a thrill from grabbing a cup of coffee, heading out to the garage, and pulling the cover off the ol' fake 904.

To each his own, though...

Tim
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Old 07-02-2003, 08:17 AM   #5
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I agree with Tim above. In my mind its only the real thing which is really worth bothering with. Unfortunately most of us weren't there at the time to buy them new and don't have the money to buy them now, but hey such is life and if it helps motivate you to pursue a dream all the better.

As for replicas, I mean, where do you draw the line? I am sure some people have very convincing arguments for owning Ferrari GTO replicas based on the humbler Ferrari 330s (still a $70k car) and similarly a friend of mine believes his Morgan kit car is better than the real one as it doesn't have the wood chassis. But for me, only the real thing will do - if you can't afford it but something you can and be proud of it. I'd have more interest and respect for an immaculate 924 than I do for a 550 Spyder replica.

Finally, may I add that I don't even believe in upgrades in current cars (apart from perhaps customising it for a particular use, like the track, with sport seats, bigger brakes etc). For instance, I've seen a few 964s rebodied to 993s, thats depressing in my opinion!
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Old 07-02-2003, 09:03 AM   #6
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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana,Tahoma,Helvetica">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana,Tahoma,Helvetica">Originally posted by Riccardo:
<strong>Finally, may I add that I don't even believe in upgrades in current cars (apart from perhaps customising it for a particular use, like the track, with sport seats, bigger brakes etc). For instance, I've seen a few 964s rebodied to 993s, thats depressing in my opinion!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana,Tahoma,Helvetica">I completely agree.
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Old 07-02-2003, 09:19 AM   #7
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I've driven a Beck Speedster and it was beautiful, well put together, and a lot of fun to drive. Having a VW drivetrain should also make it fairly bulletproof. Not much downside there. If I purchased it the only change I would make is an upgrade to front discs vs. drums. The resale on them is terrible which of course is great if you're in the market. You should be able to pick up a very nice one for cheap.

I'm guessing that most people driving Beck's are not in the market for the originals due to cost constraints. Driving a kit car doesn't do it for me, but I can see where people would want a fun, reliable car that looks nice for a good price. Also, they certainly shouldn't care what "we" or anyone else thinks. It's their money and their car. If they have fun with it, in my book it's a good investment.
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Old 07-02-2003, 11:21 AM   #8
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At the Deutsche Marque Concours in Vienna VA in may, there was a Beck 904. Rumor was it was driven there by Mr. beck himself.

The car had a 993 motor. Not sure of the gearbox and brakes. The interior was faithful to the original. Fit and finish appeared to be good. Definately more than just a fiberglass body on a bug chassis.

I think a reproduction like this is pretty cool, and actually obtainable by those of us who lack a six-figure + income.
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Old 07-02-2003, 01:34 PM   #9
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A faithful replica of something very rare and somewhat unobtainable shouldn't be frowned upon so much, if it's very faithful to the original down to the same "why did they do it that way" kind of quirks. Think of it this way: people admire and respect full restorations on cars that were complete basketcases, rusting away in a barn. How much of that car was refabricated? Most of it. But it's "real". How much needs to remain of what left the factory to stay "real"? How would you feel if someone found an old 904 frame and had Beck rebody it? Is that any less "real" than the complete resto job above?

Point is, cars are a collection of components. Only when brand new or never driven as intended will they remain 100% 'pure'. At some point it will need tires and brakes and so forth. What if it gets wrecked or the owner wants more power? Every car lies somewhere on the genuinity spectrum, I suppose. Beck's replicas using Porsche components are closer to the middle of that spectrum than some of you might be giving them credit for.

If you want one, buy one. Who cares what the pundits think?

-Paul
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Old 07-02-2003, 11:55 PM   #10
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The older I get, the more interested in Porsche history I become, and I'm old enough to remember seeing the Spyders race in the late '50s. I've been thinking about what it might be like to own a Beck 550 Spyder or the newer retro RSKs (and now a 904?). No, they're not Porsches (and shouldn't be badged as Porsches), but I bet they provide something close to the feel of driving the originals. I can't afford one of the originals, and if I could, I'd be afraid to drive it much. When a fake pulls in, I enjoy looking it over, much like I do looking over one of the originals.
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Old 07-03-2003, 08:16 AM   #11
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Look at it this way: The only value that only an "original" Carrera GTS has, is the fact that it is extremely rare and a "collector" car.

A replica can be faster, lighter, stronger, cheaper, more practical, and easier to fix/repair.

I had the pleasure of viewing a Martin replica 904 last week, and even though the "little" things that I pick up right away look fake or replica, the car itself as a whole is gorgeous, and true to the original.

A replica can NEVER replicate the value of an original CGTS, but what it DOES replicate very well, is the feeling of driving one.

I'd LOVE to own a replica of a CGTS because I LOVE that car, and even if I could afford a real one, I would be too ashamed to drive such a rare car.

Replica for me, please - as long as it's body and interior are as "period correct" as financially possible. The engine drive train and brakes and suspenion could be 911 for all I care, as long as the car looks authentic, and handles like a go cart.
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Old 07-03-2003, 08:24 AM   #12
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BTW I forgot to add that it is one of my life's goals to one day own a CGTS replica.

1: Lose virginity - CHECK
2: Become a commercial pilot - CHECK
3: Buy a 944 turbo - CHECK
4: Buy a house
5: Get married & have kid(s)
6: Buy/Build a 904 Carrera GTS

I'M HALF WAY THERE!!!
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Old 07-03-2003, 01:01 PM   #13
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Um, Rich? Reorder #5-6 or 6 might never happen! lol

-Paul

PS- One more thing: Automobile Atlanta offers a 914 to 904 conversion. Is that car no longer a Porsche? <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
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Old 07-04-2003, 02:36 AM   #14
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I saw a couple of well done Beck 550's at a concours next to a real 550. I don't think a knowledgeable person would confuse a Beck with the real thing, but they are close enough not to be silly. It's probably a bad idea to get a Beck 550 if you're "looking for respect" from Porsche owners, but the best reason to get one is the performance, imo. A lot of power in a very light car that looks good. A Beck 904, on the other hand, is going to be pegged as a replica, especially in the U.S. Anybody that knows what a 904 is, also knows there aren't any driving around on the streets.
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Old 07-05-2003, 11:55 PM   #15
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I'd love to have a 904 replica so long as it was good quality and as true to the original as possible! Why not? I can't afford a real one, and even if I could, a real 904 is so rare and valuable I'd never drive it anyway. And what about the famous 962. Or even many 935's!!! Lots of 962 were built from the ground up by people other than the Porsche factory. And the 935! wow, some of the most famous even started life as 912's, and are now worth six figures.

So as for you morons that would think nothing but the original is worth any thought. Well you guys are lame, I mean seriously I'm willing to bet somewhere in your house right now you HAVE a replica of some Porsche, maybe a very cheap model by matchbox, or even a good quality like Exoto! Eitherway it's still a replica. So what's the difference? Please explain, I'm just dying to hear your lame justification. I'm already laughing at the stupidity of your previous posts.

Now in no way to me would a replica ever be worth anything near an original, hell no, but to discount even owning one just because it's not original...please.

In reality I think there are only two types of people who hate replicas...Those that own the real thing...and those who can't even afford to buy the fakes.
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Old 07-05-2003, 11:55 PM
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