1955 550 Porsche Spyder

Masterpiece 1955 Porsche Spyder 550 by Special Edition

The 550/1500 Rennsport

Like a symphony, putting together a custom car like this requires many sophisticated parts with a conductor to make it all come together “just so.” In this case, Carey Hines, the VP of Special Edition did just this – and created a masterpiece. The build quality is second to none, all done without any compromise to quality, safety, or reliability.

The lucky owner first became interested in old Porsches after my best friend Chaman showed me photos of a 550 Spyder replica. After I began talking to several colleagues at work about their car interests and the fun that they had working on their cars, I decided that I too wanted an older car.

I started investigating older air cooled Porsches, and couldn’t take my eyes off of the old Porsche shapes of the 50s. I originally intended to build a 550 Spyder replica from a kit, but as I realized the time commitment and expertise that this would take, I quickly relied on Special Edition to assemble more of the car for me.

I couldn’t be happier with the fit and finish. – AR
Builder: Carey Hines, Special Edition, Inc. (beckspeedster.com).

Special Edition was started by Mr. Kevin Hines, who currently runs Special Edition with his son, Carey. Together they build some of the finest replica cars in the world. They are the home of the BECK speedster and spyders, two replicas first produced by Chuck Beck, a well known figure in the automotive world. He worked for Carroll Shelby in the 1960s for a short time, and is especially well known for his work on suspensions. Chuck used to produce these replicas himself in Upland, California; the operation was then moved to Bremen, Indiana where they are now produced by Special Edition.


  • CB Performance 2165 cc Type I motor by Pat Downs, 160 hp.
    Rancho Pro street transmission, 3:88 freeway flyer Setrab oil cooler
  • Firewall, pedals, shift box: Mr. Ingo Poth (alloycars.com)
  • Wheels: Mr. Chris Coddington (alloyreplicas.com)
  • Gauges: Harmut Mees (paloaltospeedo.com)
  • Body Shops, paint shops: The body work was done at Special Edition, Inc.

Unique features:

  • Bosch horns: The horns seen in the car are as they were on the original 550 Spyders.
  • Gauges: The gauges were originally taken from a Porsche 914 and refaced by Palo Alto Speedometer to look like original 550 Spyder gauges.
  • Pedals: Produced by Alloy Cars, Inc, the pedals are exact copies of the pedals from an original 550 Spyder.
  • Floating floor: The floor in the car has a ribbed rubber maternal that was made out of wood in the original car. The floor itself is raised, and is removable. The “floating” floor in this car was made of a strong, lightweight synthetic material and lined with natural cord to prevent rattling.
  • Bendix fuel pumps: many of the 550 spyders had either Autopulse or Bendix fuel pumps; the ones in this car are for show only, but are installed just as they were in chassis 550-74 (the 74th 550 built).
  • Handbrake and shift box: both are copies from an original car.
  • Barberpole vinyl: The vinyl upholstery in the car was only found in the Porsche 550 Spyders; the vinyl in this car was sourced from SMS in Oregon and dyed bright red (as found in the original car). It has a twist in between ribbings, and is for that reason called barberpole vinyl.
  • Rear latches: The original car contained latches and unfinished leather straps to hold the rear clam shell in place. This car contains original style latches that are locked and unlocked with a church key.
  • Sebring exhaust: Found on many 550 Spyders, the exhaust on this car was made by exhaust legend Tiger at A1 Exhaust in Santa Ana. Tiger has made many exhausts for early Porsches, and made this exhaust especially for this car. It was ceramiccoated white.
  • Alloy wheels: The wheels on the original 550 Spyders were 16” by 3.5” and had a steel center with an aluminum rim. These wheels are the same shape and design, but were custom made in 16×4.5” for this car in all aluminum. They were originally designed by Boyd Coddington and created especially for this car in the specified dimensions by his son, Chris. They wear 16” Excelsior Stahl Sport bias-ply looking radial tires in 16×5.50 from Coker Tire.

There are many 550 spyder replicas that have been built, but few have attempted to create a 550 Spyder that represents the original in this much detail.

> D3


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