Me & My Car: Porsche's most iconic shape? Inside a 356 Speedster
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Why did you buy this 1995 McRae Porsche Speedster replica?
I started Homage.co.nz in 2007 with the idea of bringing high-quality reproduction and original furniture designs from the 50s and 60s to people who loved them, like me, but couldn’t afford them. The idea of having an accurate replica Speedster was a natural progression from what I did for a living.
Who built this replica?
Graeme McRae, a Kiwi engineer, race car driver and builder, imported an original Porsche Speedster in 1993 to make moulds for his production kits. Being a technical perfectionist, McRae's Speedster is an accurate replica of an original built by Porsche. Thirty-eight Speedsters and Spyders were built before the company finished in 2003 when McRae became ill.
When did you buy this car?
After always wanting a Speedster (but not being able to afford an original) I purchased this in 2011, from Invercargill sight-unseen, after talking to the owner. My wife and I picked up the car and drove to Bluff to start an epic road trip to Auckland.
What was the donor car?
The donor car McRae used was a VW chassis with a tuned 1600cc VW engine and various original parts added in from Porsche such as carbs and cams. Badges and carpets are original Porsche and it even comes with a Speedster handbook, which is a nice touch. The car is manual and the colour is Ruby Red, apparently the same colour Ferdinand Porsche had for his 356.
Why did you want to own a Speedster?
Before the Speedster, I owned a Ferrari 456GT for several years, which I needed to own to get it off my wish list, When I sold it to help pay for our renovated kitchen, I wanted something that was fun and better value — and a Speedster was always on my hit list. When I park it outside our shop, people generally stop and take photos. It’s great to own a car that brings smiles to other people as well as yourself.
What’s its value?
Because of their reputation as being one of the best reproductions and their limited numbers, they are always in demand. The current value would be around the $50k-$60k mark (which is a lot better value that the USD$500k mark originals fetch),
Would you sell it?
I have considered it; but then I hop in it and drive it and realise I couldn’t. But I also have a few other cars I would like to own — so you can never tell. Give me a call at Homage Newmarket if you are interested!
Is this your everyday drive?
It’s a Sunday driver but it loves being driven. I try to get it out as much as possible.
What do you keep in this car?
A hat and sunscreen. With a low windscreen, the wind can be interesting.
Who else drives it?
My wife and a few friends.
What other vehicles do you have?
A Land Rover Defender, an electric BMW i3, and a customised Vespa — which is my daily driver and perfect for Auckland traffic.
Who got you interested in cars?
My dad taught me to drive. He was a mechanic so got me interested in cars.
How many cars have had?
We’ve owned a few but my first was a 1970 Ford Escort two-door, primer grey with extended rims. I thought I was the man. I have made money on every classic car I’ve owned. You can’t say for a modern car.
Where do you get work done?
I had an old VW specialist working on it for years, but now he’s retired I’m on the lookout for a new one.
Your dream car?
Where do I start: Lamborghini
Miura, Ferrari Dino, or a 1973 Porsche 911 RS.
Favourite movie car scene?
Ronin with the chase in the Audi S8. Your thoughts on EVs and driverless vehicles?
I love EVs. We have had our BMW i3 for more than three years and love it. It’s perfect in town and has lots of get up and go when needed. But it still doesn’t offset the carbon emission from the Defender.