Monday, October 15, 2007

A Porsche "moment"

You just never know what you're going to see...

After taking photos of bikers gathered at a local dairy bar I was walking back to my car past the usual line of portly SUV's and I was shocked to see a Porsche 550 Spyder...yes a truly rare car, a piece of history!

I was struck by how odd it was to see such a rare car sitting in front of me. Now here in the far northern suburbs of New York City it's not uncommon to see this type of car but still it was a pleasant surprise for a Porsche-phile. I looked at the registration sticker and sure enough it read "55 Porsche"...good enough for me! "Wow," I thought, "it's real."
I set about taking some reference photos for slot-modelling. "What a cool car," I thought as I walked around and around the little silver/grey car looking for just the right angle to capture the Porsche-ness of the car.
I saw the Nurburgring badge on the grille and my mind raced...this just gets better, "this car must have raced at the Nurburgring"... my naive mind now swimming in thoughts of this iconic car taking the high-speed turns at an iconic track. After what seemed like an hour staring at the car (which was about minutes really) the owner came strolling towards the car.

Me:"Is this yours?"
Me:"Is it a real 550?"
Him:"No, it's a Beck Replica"

I was devastated... I'd been taken in, I'd been duped, wait... had I?

The car is an amazing car, it's every bit as beautiful as a "real" 550. The owner is Ron Gafni, who I found out is the GM of a dealership and motorsports team in Stamford, explained what the car was and as I looked that feeling of Porsche-ness swept back over me.

Mr. Gafni humored me for a bit patiently talking to this person who clearly will never have the means to buy anything more than the Porsche nameplate. I thanked Ron for his time, a bit embarrassed to have taken so much of it on a beautiful Fall Sunday morning. As he pulled through the crowd everyone turning to look at the Spyder. The light that morning unusually clear for the Northeastern US, and the warm light highlighted the curves of the tiny car as it kicked up just a bit of dust. The crowds parted and the dust rose around the car like it was a movie set, it was like James Dean himself was rolling along the rows of motorcycles behind the wheel of Lil Bastard (yeah, I'm a bit of a romantic if you haven't already guessed). The Spyder slowly rolled along and out of the parking lot and then quickly shot down the street and onto the highway the 1200cc engine singing the whole way.

For everyone that saw the car that day it was a had all the grace and beauty of a Porsche. I hadn't been taken in.



Anonymous said...

Good story, Dave. Thanks for the pictures. Paul

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,
Great article! The seen was Just Right!!
Speak to you soon,

Harry said...

Great one...replica or not, she is a doll.


Anonymous said...

The Beck is very cool replicar, nicely done and a good value. It probably has a lot more than 1200cc of VW power, though, more like 1600+. You could probably afford one some day, Dave!

Anonymous said...

FYI 2160CC I own the car :-)

DaveKennedy said...

Sorry I got the engine size wrong...


Anonymous said...

Good article, the only thing that troubles me is that it wasn't the real thing. To me, a replicar of this sort confuses enthousiasts. Fake is fake and should be registered that way. It is probably illegal for a registration to say it is real when it isn't. May day would have been ruined if I was duped like that. you never know, maybe someday you will see an actual 550 Spyder instead of a wannabe.

DaveKennedy said...

Thanks for the compliment on the article. I have seen numerous 550's including the Telefunken 550... what can I say, I still enjoyed seeing the Beck Spyder.