Meet The Man Turning Porsche Boxsters Into Classic Speedsters
We interview the man behind Stark Speedster.
What if you could have the handcrafted body of a classic 356 Speedster with modern drivability, crash safety, and the performance of a modern Porsche for a small fee of $59,950 and a donor Porsche Boxster? Well, that’s exactly what Wade Morrison’s company, Starke Speedster, will happily craft for you.
Most Porsche purists are perfectly happy to spend huge sums of money on classic cars they will rarely drive, but not Wade Morrison. The founder of Starke Speedster was determined to fuse the design of a classic Porsche Speedster he dreamed of, with the usability and performance of a modern day Porsche he demanded.
“Everyone has their dream car, and for my father, it was always the Speedster”, Wade remembers his dad’s dream that inspired the creation of Starke Speedster. Wade’s father served in the United States military and was stationed in Germany. When Wade’s father returned home he brought with him a love of Porsches, especially the Speedster.
Unfortunately, Wade’s father passed away before he could realize his dream of Speedster ownership. This inspired Wade to go out and buy the Speedster his father never had the chance to own, but the current crop of used Speedsters did not resonate with Wade. Wade quickly found that real Speedsters were far too expensive and the replicas fell short of the Porsche quality he was expecting.
After realizing that maybe a Speedster wasn’t for him, Wade found himself behind the wheel of a 2006 Porsche Boxster. “I always thought the Boxster was a girly car until I got behind the wheel”, Wade confesses. This short drive was an aha moment for Wade to fuse the design of the Speedster he dreamed of with the driving experience of a modern Porsche Boxster.
Wade defines the goals of his Scottsdale, AZ based company, “We have a lot of respect for the original Speedster but it’s not a car you can just jump in and drive. You wouldn’t pick someone up from the airport in a Speedster or drive it to work every day. Our goal is to build a car you could drive every day that pays homage to the original speedster, as we say here, ‘It’s not a replica, it’s a revolution’”
To make his dream a reality Wade assembled a senior team of designers and fabricators to start Starke Speedster. This Scottsdale based coachbuilder takes all the modern underpinnings of a donor Boxster and re-bodies them in a bespoke exterior and interior that pay homage to the original 356 Speedster. Wade explains, “We wanted to give our Starke Speedster the chassis it could have with the vintage styling that everyone loves.”
Recreating a classic Speedster shape on a much large Boxster chassis was no easy task. This new body was created over two years using both software and clay models to get it just right. Since the Boxster is larger than the tiny Speedster it was crucial to get the proportions just right. The body is crafted by hand in either fiberglass or carbon fiber depending on customer preference.
Although the entire exterior design took tears of fine-tuning, Wade modestly remarks that Porsche did all the hard work. Starke retains most of the Boxster’s structure re-skinning the doors in carbon fiber and retaining the entire crash structure. The bespoke body may look classic but its drivability and crash safety is from a modern era.
Customers can use any donor Boxster from the first two generations of the car spanning from 1996 to 2012. This means you can have a manual transmission, torque converter, or even a PDK Speedster. Engines also range from the 217 horsepower 2.7-liter Flat-6 to the 3.4-liter 310 horsepower Flat-6 depending on the Boxster you source. If none of the standard powertrains interest you, Starke offers a race tested XR57 3.7-liter Flat-6 that produces 375 horsepower to the wheels for a small fee of $40,000.
Much like the drivetrain, the Stark Speedster’s interior is heavily dependent on the spec of the donor Boxster, “We’re not taking things out just to take them out.” Starke will re-trim the entire interior with anything customer can imagine; from houndstooth to vintage leather is available. All other creature comforts we expect from a modern Porsche are available thanks to the donor Boxster, “I don’t know about you but I like heated seats and no classic Speedster has heated seats.”
“We wanted to offer our customers as many options as possible,” and Wade made sure breadth of options for potential Starke Speedster clients is immense. Starke breaks down their products into three main trim levels: CS, Outlaw, and SC. The CS is the most affordable option starting and $59,950 and most closely resembles the original Speedster thanks to handcrafted metal fenders and narrow body. For customers can choose the $79,950 Outlaw, which pays homage to the Porsche hot-rodders of the 50’s removing the bumpers and widening the car. Finally at $89,950, the SC is a modern interpretation of what a Speedster could be adding on 19in wheels and a wider body.
Starting a company like this aimed directly at Porsche enthusiasts is risky but the response has been very positive. Orders are being placed and the schedule is filling up. This incredible response is exactly what Wade was hoping for. Many of Wade’s customers already own original Speedsters but want the option of a car they can drive everyday without worry. Whether your looking for a comfortable custom cruiser or a powerful track day weapon Starke Speedster will craft you the car you’ve dreamed of.