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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Got bit by a Spyder today...

Anna and I took a little trip to Charleston today and we both got bit by a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder (replica). Long story short, I've had a fascination with 1955 Porsche 550 Spyders for quite a few years. It was Porsche's first official race car, and it dominated the tracks in the mid-50's. Since then, it has been a major influence on basically every Porsche model since (including a 968 Cabriolet I owned back in the day). Unfortunately, only ninety 550 Spyders were ever produced. Out of those 90, only 78 total cars were ever offered to the public worldwide. At the present time, there are approximately 50 left in existence. The going price (if you could even find one being sold) is currently around $1,000,000. Jerry Seinfield has one, and Ralph Lauren supposedly has one, as well. For those folks who can't find one for sale and/or can't afford to drop a million bucks on a car they would probably never even drive anyway, there's always a replica. Even the replicas are very rare (a 550 Spyder guru estimates there are only about 2,000 replicas worldwide). Jay Leno, who happens to be a major car guy, has a replica... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBQPKGwyakM A couple of the companies who manufacture them build them from the ground up exactly like the original.

Anyway, I kind of started looking for one a couple weeks ago, but there aren't many out there for sale. There was one out in California I liked, but that's been about it. I posted on a Spyder forum about a week ago that I had never seen one before, and a guy in Charleston, SC said he had one (not for sale) and that if Anna and I ever wanted to check it out and drive it we could. I just bought a surfboard from a friend of a friend who happens to live in Charleston, so I thought we'd kill two birds with one stone. Soooooooo, off to Charleston we went today to meet the Spyder owner and the surfboard owner, two people we've never met before, and test-drive a car we've never seen in person before. That's my kind of day. To keep Anna happy, we went shopping in between car and surfboard :-)

The drive... First off, the Spyder owner, Chris, zips into the Belk parking lot where we were waiting. We drool over the car for a few minutes, then Chris takes me for a spin. Before you know it, we were flying up highway 526. He was driving like he just stole the car. Keep in mind this may well be the lowest car ever produced. Also keep in mind, this car is a true open roadster (no convertible top) with a windshield only about a foot high. My whole face is above the windshield. In all my excitement, I forgot to wear my sunglasses. So here we are roaring up the highway (sounds like the retro racecar it is) in heavy traffic with no real windshield or sunglasses protecting my eyes (left eye was bloodshot when we returned). Halfway through our trip, he pulls over and lets me drive and tells me not to be afraid to open it up a bit. And yes, it runs and handles like a race car. When we got back, he said "OK, now take your wife for a ride for a half-hour, or so." About 3 minutes and 27 seconds into our drive, Anna tells me she's nervous about the car and something happening to it, so we turn around and go back. Chris was a pretty cool dude to meet us there and let us drive the car. Here are some videos and pics...


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As you can see, the top of the windshield is lower than my waist...


And the new board...

2 comments:

Rachel said...

What a fun day!! The pictures are great and all, but I want to see what Anna got shopping ;)

Julie said...

OK I was right...you get it for 6 mos and we get it for 6 mos. Play nice and share!