Everybody has something that makes them tick. For Minnesota native Christopher Runge, that something is vintage Porsches.
Runge has been enamored with the Stuttgart sportscars from a young age, ever since one was tucked away for the winter inside his family’s barn. Over the years he has owned and tuned a number of Porsche’s finest examples.
In 2011, he set out to achieve a lofty goal – to build his own, an aluminum-bodied car evocative of the post-war Porsche racers. By 2012, that’s just what he had done. He calls his recreations “Frankfurt Flyers” and has since built three more, on behalf of paying customers. Now he’s looking to build another, and if you like what you see, that next customer could be you.
While there’s hardly a shortage of replica Porsche 550 Spyders on the market, it’s Runge’s traditional tools and methods which make his various designs unique. He doesn’t use computers or design programs to mock up shapes. Rather, he employs a simple drafting board, paper, and pencil. Aluminum body panels are hand-beaten and formed in the traditional way across a wooden frame… just like Porsche did during its early days in the famous Gmünd sawmill.
Runge writes that every detail of the new car can be tailored to individual tastes, and if the last Frankfurt Flyer is anything to go by, it’s quite the homage to the original Porsche 550. Runge has enlisted renowned Porsche replica builder Chuck Beck to handle assembly of the tubular steel space frame and adjustable suspension, while VW engine guru Tom Bruch works magic on its engine – an 85 horsepower boxer built up from a ’58 36 horsepower Volkswagen mill.
The potent four-cylinder features a modified 912 crankshaft, Wolfsburg West dual-port heads and dual carburetors. The Frankfurt Flyer has a Volkswagen four-speed gearbox putting power to Porsche 356 reproduction steel wheels. And Runge is keeping it all period-correct, there are no disc brakes here, just age-appropriate drums at all corners.
Runge says the bespoke build takes around 10 months between inception and delivery, and given the level of detail employed, that intensive schedule isn’t too hard to imagine.
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