Okay, photobucket's up and running again so I can actually post some pictures and take the opportunity to explain one or two things.
I'm lucky enough to be able to retire in January next year after 35 years in uniforms of one colour or another. I'll have a modest heap of tax free cash and sufficient income from my combined pensions that I won't need to work 'for the man
' any more, but I'm young enough to want to do more than sit in front of the telly with a rug over my knees waiting for the 'reaper to show up.
The Grim Reaper.
The Grim Reaper hurggh...
Try saying that out loud if you don't get it.
So, I need something to fill my time until I'm too frail to work, and I could also do with a small additional income stream to pay for adventurous continental road trips and new central heating boilers without eating into my nest egg.
I've looked at part time work, stacking shelves, Uber driving (failed the interview as I'm not a potential serial killer), working for a charity, etc, but the lure of being my own boss is strong.
I've long wanted to start up a small mobile catering business but always succumbed to the security of a guaranteed salary instead. So, I'm going to live the dream, turning my hobby into a business and building classic replica cars for a living.
Well, over on the Tribute forum it's been pointed out that the 'kit car' world has changed considerably over recent years. In the booms of the fifties and eighties customers for kit cars were typically people with lots of mechanical skills but little money. It was a cheap way for a working class factory mechanic to build an interesting plaything when he wasn't at the coalface making widgets.
The prices realised for the best looking classic replicas now though, almost £50k for a Z3 based DNA 250, for example, shows that there are now lots of potential customers with deep pockets but without the technical skills or time to build their dream car themselves. They will form my customer base.
To improve on my current income level (whilst still employed) I'll only need to sell one car every eighteen months, but I'm aiming for two per year, one right hand drive and one left hand drive as the falling pound is good news for export prospects.
I won't be selling kits or taking on commission builds - I don't want any deadlines or unrealistic customer expectations - my plan is to build cars that please me and sell them to people who fall in love with them too (if I can bear to part with them...)
Ultimately I'd like to develop my own Maserati 200si replica, I fancy having a go at a (Tribute) D Type and wouldn't mind creating a more accurate Lancia D24 Spyder (V6 motor and slightly bigger), but my first project will be an outlaw 356 Speedster.
The images I'm looking at for inspiration are mainly the smooth, paired back style created by Emory Motorsports and famously driven in this episode of Jay Leno's g'rarjjj -
And some stills of this and a couple of later models in similar style -
I'll be putting my own style on the Speedster though. For starters it's going to be sitting atop a Spitfire chassis with an aluminium twin cam up front. I also want to create a bit of confusion in anybody viewing the car as to whether it's real or a replica.
Speedster replicas are so commonplace now that most people will assume even real ones are Chesil products. These tend to have the post '53 horn grilles with integrated front indicators, post '54 three dial dash and post '57 teardrop rear lights.
I'm going for an earlier look with beehive rear lights, '53 only stand-alone clear front indicators directly below the headlights and a pre 'A' dashboard with cowled instruments -
It'll still have a Speedster screen - although I like the earlier 'bent' screen on a coupe I think it's too tall for a convertible - and Porsche never actually built a Speedster with the pre 'A' dash, but that's where the confusion will come in.
Anyone interested enough in old Porsches to be looking inside will expect to see a standard Speedster dash, just like all the other Speedster replicas. Instead, they're going to find something different, the screen, seats and side curtains from a Speedster but the dash from a contemporary convertible. So, could
it be a pre-production development model built by the factory in late 1953?
Well, it might just be...