How much is a Spyder worth?

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How much is a Spyder worth?

Postby Larry Jowdy » Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:34 pm

Courtesy of our Canadian half brother, Wayne

The answer to this question is very subjective. To quantify it, there are a few factors to consider such as:
1. Exclusivity.
The first thing to realize is that there are relatively few spyder replicas. There were only about 80 of the original cars and they go for $1million dollars. One guess is that there are far fewer than 2000 replicas in existence and (less than 10 in Canada...).

Some months there are as many as three used replicas on eBay every week, while other times months can go by without seeing one for sale anywhere. How bad do you want one, how soon and how motivated is the seller right now. Unlike many cars, just like there are few cars available, there are few buyers as well. Matching the right buyer with the right seller at the right time makes these cars worth whatever someone is willing to pay.

2. Components selected
Spyders are fun lightweight cars that don’t require much power in order to be a ball of fun. Beck, the best known replica was built as a simple easy to build and fun fibreglass replica that used inexpensive beetle components. Some with upgraded performance engines, other home built ones using a donor car.

Since approximately 2001 or so, the bar has been raised and higher end cars have begun to appear. This has created a wide difference between replicas.

Early cars have fiberglass floors and no metal above the floor line. Newer cars from various builders have under dash roll hoops etc.

Before we answer the spyder value question, consider this:

Q - How much is a mustang worth?
A - It depends. Is it a 4, 6 or 8 cylinder? Is it a GT or a limited production model?

Q – How much is an old 911 worth?
A – It depends. Is it an early long hood car, a T or an S model, or and RSR?

Q – How much is a 550 spyder replica worth?
A – It depends. Was it a high miler home built from donor parts, is it a newer factory car, has it been “Deaned out” with expensive cosmetic and mechanical upgrades, is it a modern performance version using a vw type 4, or a Subaru motor?

Some people will pay more for authenticity while others will pay more for performance, but either way, if we consider a well built used factory Beck as the base line, below that are cars that are all used up, or shabbily built, and above that are the completed cars that the owners have viewed as a starting point, and spent thousands of dollars creating their vision of what a 550 should be.

Another low cost alternative are the other kits like Perry and Banham. Fun cars built on a donor floor pan instead of a purpose built frame. Yes, fun. I think they would be enjoyable cars, but resale price will be much less based on what the market wants.

Above the line are the other similar to Beck replicas from builders like Thunder Ranch, Vintage, Martin and Walker and the latest from Chamonix and Special editions etc., all that have modified the design in some way.

To complicate matters more, a well accessorised Beck can be worth more than a base model from another builder, and vice versa.

Build cost comparison:

Basic kit @ $8500 + donor car @ 500.00 + paint and your time = $12000.00 ?
( a lot of corners cut if you bring it in under at this price).

Base Beck factory car ?

High end build (built to spec from kit or built by Thunder ranch, vintage, Beck,
Chamonix etc.)?

Some component costs:

Basic tranny $500.00
Upgraded tranny $1000.00
Performance tranny with Limited slip diff $3000.00

Basic Engine $2-3K?
110hp type 1 motor @5k?
High performance motor $7-10K +++

Basic 4 bolt Brakes and rims @$300?
Wide 5 bolt pattern, drum skins, powder coated rims@ 1500.00?

Basic Pedal set $50.00?
Tilton racing pedal set $400?

Some other price factors:
Basic carpeted interior or high quality fitted aluminium?
Basic beetle components or authentic steering wheel, gauges, levers, knobs, pedals

Final thoughts:
$20k +- has been the selling range for used early 550 replicas in the past, but now days there are so many more options available and being added to these cars that the right car should fetch $30k+ depending on options. Buyers used to be able to look at one car just like another and only have to compare condition. Today it is no longer that simple. How much more would you pay for a911 motor or a turbo charged Subaru powered independent suspension car
- or -
an exact replica of James Deans car right down to every minor detail? What if the car was a concourse winner? What if it appeared in a movie? Each buyer might place value on different things.

If you were to have a performance car built new, I have a hard time seeing how the builder could do a high end car for less than $40 = $50 grand. You could buy a nice assembly line car for much less and have a nice car. You could even add accessories later to bring it up to your spec. if you want to bring it to a different level.

On the other hand, if you want a performance version you will have to pay for that up front, or else throw away a lot of good components that will end up costing you more.

Remind me again what are the factors I should consider?
1. Degree of authenticity
2. Performance (brakes, motor, suspension, wheels)
3. Build quality
4. Time left on the components before they are used up (paint, body, interior motor)
5. Suitability for your intended purpose.

Some people will see these are worthless copies, others will see them as cute toys, to others they are rolling works of art, and others will see them as spyder shaped purpose built cars.

Shopping for one is half the fun
Larry Jowdy
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