Beck 904: Remaking A Classic Porsche
By James Grahame
Just over 100 Porsche 904s were manufactured under the Carrera GTS name, starting in 1963. The car was never intended for mass production and was built only to satisfy GT race requirements. Not surprisingly, demand for this futuristic supercar far outstripped supply.
It was Porsche's first fibreglass body, and the combination of a sleek lightweight chassis and mid-engine power plant proved formidable on the racetrack.
Alas, owning one of the originals is a prohibitively expensive proposition. Chuck Beck has a long history of manufacturing quality reproductions of the Porsche 356 and 500, and he stepped up to the plate to bring a 911-powered replica of the 904 to the masses.
The Beck 904's air-cooled 3.164 L six-cylinder puts out 250 hp (net) mated to a 5-spd transaxle. A curb weight of only 1,740 lbs ensures ferocious performance, with a very respectable 0-60 mph time of 3.6 seconds.
The Beck 904 doesn't come with niceties such as satnav or air conditioning, but it offers a chance to drive a surprisingly authentic remake of a classic Porsche at a cost of around $50,000 + drivetrain.
Incidentally, Peugeot complained about Porsche's use of a zero in the middle of their model numbers, arguing that this was a hallmark of the Peugeot naming scheme. As a result, the Porsche 901 was rebadged the 911 and only Porsche race cars carried a zero from that point on.