Thunder Ranch Porsche 718 RSK Spyder Replica 3.6L
Final bid:$21,000
Categories: Water-Cooled
Auction type: ReserveEnded
5 bids, 25 comments

Vehicle Details

  • Year: 1966
  • Make: Thunder Ranch
  • Model: Porsche 718 Spyder Replica
  • VIN: 116824684
  • Mileage Shown: 500mi (TMU)
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Title Status: Clean
  • Color: Silver
  • Seller: Lelandspcarmarket
  • Seller Type: Private Party
  • Location: Huntington Beach, CA 92649
  • Lot #: V-0020655

Inspired by the Porsche 718 RSK Spyder race car, this road-legal replica was built by Thunder Ranch in El Cajon, California, and features a Subaru-derived 3.6L flat-six engine paired with a 5-speed manual transaxle. The car sat idle for about 10 years and recently received new tires, a new battery, LED headlights, and an oil change in preparation for sale. Registered as a 1966 Volkswagen, this high-performance 718 Spyder replica is now being offered for auction by its owner out of California.

Finished in Silver, the composite bodywork is laid over a full tubular frame and features aftermarket rear and center view mirrors as well as a newly installed windscreen and tribute LED headlights. The Fuchs-style wheels come dressed in a set of new Accelera PH1-R tires and the seller notes some small scuff marks and imperfections in the finish, detailed images are provided in the gallery.

The cockpit has been left unupholstered and comes equipped with newer adjustable seats trimmed in dark blue vinyl. Other additions include a new MOMO steering wheel, a new headrest, and carpeting on the rear panel for noise suppression. Instrumentation consists of a tachometer, temperature dials, and a voltage meter.

A 3.6L Subaru EZ36 flat-six engine sends power to the rear wheels by way of a Mendeola 5-speed manual transaxle. A custom 9-gallon aluminum fuel tank is equipped as well as an all-aluminum Ron Davis front radiator. The car weighs approximately 1,300 lbs. with an estimated output of 350 HP and features an independent rear suspension with adjustable coilovers. The battery was recently replaced along with an oil change.

This sale will include a clean title and owner’s manuals.


Auction Results

  • Highest Bid: $21,000
  • Auction End: Jul 14, 2022 07:40:00PM UTC
  • Number of Bids: 5
5,838 views70 saves

Comments (30)

Leave a comment

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    How many miles are on the car?
    Folks, I got the back story on this car before I bought it a year ago and it sat for 10 years and prior to that it was part of an ugly divorce and sat in a storage locker. As you can see from the images and the original equipment this car was virtually never used once received from the Thunder Ranch factory. Yes this is the factory paint and nothing on the underbody was covered so all of the light wear is exposed.
    It was just pointed out to me that they made less than 50 RSK’s by Thunder Ranch and the molds were sold to a company in Europe – apparently. I have not seen another one in person, just online. I left many things uncovered on purpose so the new owner can see how very little it was used. My guess is less than 100 miles total. Pair that with the monster Subie motor and it’s a winner.
    Good luck to you all. Drive safe out there.

  • hpsummer 1 year, 11 monthsago

    Bid in the amount of $21,000

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    @badboybuses - Thanks for the comment. Yes, this specific body model was not made in volume. I was not aware that there were about 50 of these molds made. I hope this will end up with a true driver. With the 6cyl it is freaky fast. Cheers and thanks for the comment. Drive safe out there!

  • badboybuses (registered bidder) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    @Lelandspcarmarket. I'm not aware of anyone making these RSK's anymore. Beck doesn't. T And I'm pretty sure Hawaiian gardens isn't either. Thunder Ranch threw 50 bodies and sold the molds to someone in Europe when then went out of business. I have one of the 50 and enjoy the heck out of it. So If anyone wants one of these jump on it as they are few and far between. Good luck to bidders.

  • johngiovanni1 1 year, 11 monthsago

    Bid in the amount of $16,000

  • Davidpoer (registered bidder) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    @Lelandspcarmarket Thank you, a thoughtful and a complete answer.

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    @Davidpoer - Hey Davidpoer – Beck, Hawian Gardens Motors and Thunder Ranch (and all of the small local shops) use what is called a fiberglass mold for the body. The important issue here is the frame structure and in the case with Thunder Ranch it is a complete mono-tublar frame designed to work with VW chassis. You can do lots of google research on this topic with a multitude of companies who provide aftermarket parts.
    The important take away here is that all of these replicas are built as a uni-body and there are no specific fenders or rear deck lids. Each kit from all of these companies are basically a singular shell body and a few parts like doors and frunks.
    If you needed any body repair, ANY auto body shop can perform fiberglass repair or fabrication. In terms of frame or suspension parts most of the parts are VW sourced. In this case with my Subie motor and you had issues you would simply take this car to ANY Subaru Tuner or even a Subaru dealer in your city for motor repairs. Most likely you would have much better luck at any aftermarket Subaru repair shop and EVERY city in America has a Subaru resource.
    Please feel free to ask more specific questions. This custom build was fairly basic. 1) Thunder ranch tube frame. 2) Thunder Ranch mono chassis and small bits 3) Subie power plant and reputable Mendeola transmission. Most of the parts are VW based.
    Again, lots of info out in the inner webs. Good luck, this rare RSK is a frigging rocket. Strap in and smash the throttle and your face will break with a smile. Hope this info helps, let me know if you need more details.

  • Davidpoer (registered bidder) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    Is there a company that still builds these, if not, is there a place that has parts for these cars in case a fender or something gets hit? I assume the engine work could be handled by any mechanic familiar with Subaru engines. Thank you

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    @fillindagarages - totally agree, this will be a gokart for you especially with size 13 shoes unless you wanted to re-configure. Both the seats and the foot pedal clusters can be moved slightly but you are right, it might be a wee bit tight for you in most beck or thunder ranch replicas without some modifications. Good luck fillin' da garages.

  • fillindagarages (registered bidder) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    @Lelandspcarmarket my ‘issues’ are more vertical than horizontal…. 36” inseam and size 13’s.

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    @fillindagarages - and Pcarmarket folks - please see the latest photo added that shows the measurements of the cockpit (to be more realistic if you can fit in this car). I am no Architect or an artist but at least you can see some basic measurements of the drivers seat and basic references. Plus or minus one inch. Hope this helps folks as it took bravery on my part to admit my 248 lbs. is a tight but comfortable fit in this RSK in this public forum....yikes. Now my wife really knows the truth.

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    Additional content has been added to the gallery for this listing.

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    @fillindagarages - Honesty and reality are key here. I must admit I am more like 248 lbs. and 5'10". It is tight for me but feels sooooo amazing. It is an adult street legal go kart. SMASH the gas and your face will bust with a grin. Good luck fillindagarages. I am officially on a diet.

  • fillindagarages (registered bidder) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    I want to thank the seller for his prompt and complete answers to my questions submitted through the 'contact seller' button. I've determined I simply won't fit. On to another dream. GLWA!

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    @Davidpoer - Thanks for the comment. I purchased the car without the external protruding gas cap access port as seen in other Porsche replicas. This is how I received the car and frankly I did not want to chop up the hood, I loved the way the car looks nice and clean without the gas cap protrusion.

    It takes about 30 seconds to remove the two access screws and remove the hood to fill the car. Please reference the gallery again about ¾ the way down and you can see images of the hood being removed. Please note that the gas fill cap is the black billet circular cap in the images directly by the stainless steel braided gas line on the top passenger side.

    Again and at least for me it takes about 30 seconds to remove the two quick turn release screws that were purpose built for “quick release” of the small hood. You can see the two screws in the photos as well.

    The aftermarket gas cap needed to bridge the gap between the hood and the tank would weight 7 lbs. and I think it would be a distraction from an almost perfect looking front end. I did not want the gas cap look or the added weight but my primary concern was the appearance. I like clean and easy and my opinion filling up with gas is both clean and easy with this RSX.

    Besides, the extra 30 seconds it takes to open and fill with gas gives folks more time at the gas station to approach the car to ask questions and compliment, that is fun too. Hope that helps Pcarmarket community.

  • Davidpoer (registered bidder) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    I don’t see the gas cap for filling up with fuel. My 550 and other replies RSKs have the cap thru the “hood”. Thank you

  • gjelliott 1 year, 11 monthsago

    Bid in the amount of $15,000

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    Pcarmarket folks. I think this comment is important and it reflects a bidding members questions about fiberglass cracks or micro cracks in the plastic. Please take a close look a the doors, door jams, the door hardware and the door thresholds.

    There are no visible cracks, stress fractures and this was the original paint. I am not sure if I can post any more images but I can email the admin with the additional images if you want to call out specific locations of the vehicle that you would like to see more images of. Out of the almost 300 professionally taken images I hope most of the car was covered.

    Please keep the questions coming as I will reply and respond with facts or images for full disclosure which should give you the bidding confidence.

    Also, regarding stress fractures or fiberglass cracks pleas note that this Thunder Ranch was hard mounted to the tubular frame without the "tilt up motor cockpit" Please note that there are less than 20 (or less) that were left as a rigid frame application. You can see examples of this on BaT or other sources who have these replicas. Note that the models Beck or Thunder Ranch 550 Spyder models mostly elected to have the entire rear engine bay tilt up.

    This model does not and it has the removeable top lid. I think this not only saves weight but it also adds to the rigidity of the frame and chassis connections. This makes for a solid and stable platform and performance and less wear and tear (stress fractures to the fiberglass).
    Hope this info helps.

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    Pcarmarket folks - private questions that I will share:

    1. How long have you owned it? About one year, it was in impulse buy.
    2. Any issues with the transmission, clutch, shifting gears? None at all, this build was all new and as you can see form the images almost ZERO miles on it. The transmission is a short shit and close ratio for sure. In the video you can see the tach as I roll through a few gears. My only issue is that my big feet (size 11 wide) are a bit crammed into the throttle/brake/clutch area - see it in the video).
    3. In the video I heard some noise/grinding (might be ambient, hard to tell) Since I have owned and driven the car there is no clutch or transmission grinding that I can hear or that I am aware of. In the video there is no grinding but you do hear the doors rattle on a hard clutch higher than normal throttle start. The motor and trans are hard mounted to the frame so if you are pushing the beast off the line the initial clutch release are the doors. I did not put the heavy rubber seals, we only used light rubber seals on the doors because the car is not driven in rain. If you plan to be in rain the strategy for door molding to keep water out would be different than my approach but they would also reduce any door contact to the frame. Please also view the doors and the door jams in the images, this is original paint.
    4. Are they ‘stock’ seats? The seats are typical 550 replica seats bolted to the floor. You can see the bolts underneath on the underbody. Bolted to floor or on runners? Seats are bolted to the floor as the frame tubing did not have cross members or runners as part of the Thunder Ranch factory build. This is typical for all Thunder Ranch replicas and you can see this with other 718 RSK searches. It is also important to mention the the seat belts are affixed to the frame rails for regardless of the situation, your seatbelt harness is restrained by the actual frame Autopower race equip
    5. How much more rearward travel is available from the photos they don’t appear to be against the motor firewall. The seats can adjust about 5"-6" front to back and in my case they are not adjusted all the way back, I think I have about one inch more of travel but you could always relocate the seats based on your height.
    6. Any stress/cracks in the fiberglass, especially around the door/hood/trunk hinges? ZERO - ZERO stress fractures in the fiberglass. Having previously owned a 1971 Stingray I am very familiar with fiberglass surface stress cracks. Please reference the almost 300 photos and see that there are no stress cracks.
    This is why I did not put carpet or paint the wheel wells to cover anything up. It is all bare for the new owner to appreciate. Hope this helps. Honestly this car sat for years and used less than 500 best guess is that this was used less than 100 miles based on virtually no wear on the body, the motor, the components and the original paint.

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    Joe18D - thanks for the comment.

  • joe18d (registered bidder) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    Nice shorts.
    GLWTA, Joe in NH

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    robertmcewen - dude, I totally agree. I have had fun with this unicorn for almost a year and kept it true to a more race inspired look. Besides, any person that wants this care will want to make it theirs and many items are very personal. Interior color, trip, badges, wheels and even mirrors. This beast is perfect the way it sits if you like to mash the gas or just cruise.

    This unicorn can also easily be a trailer queen too, if you want that sort of thing. As she sits it is a complete head turner and instant smile cracker especially when you smash the gas (in any gear). If the new owner is more detailed oriented to a more period car that can also easily be done (minus the beast motor).

    Hummmm... tinker on an air cooled and worry about gas and gaskets or..... subie up baby and varoooommmm

    Excellent comments folks, keep the comments and questions coming. I will do my best to respond to the best of my ability.

  • robertmcewen (registered bidder) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    The Subaru engine will make it scoot and will require less maintenance. Unless you're a mechanic or are good with tools or you know an air-cooled mechanic an air-cooled motor just needs more tinkering to keep it running well.

    It wouldn't have bothered me if the badges were on it. Less face it, with only 34 RSK's and about 90 550's produced the chances of one being real are slim and none. The chance or running into one being brought to a local C&C is even slimmer. I've never met an owner of a replica that has tried to pass it off as real. Badging this would be no different than any other replica being badged, Including, and not limited to, fiberglass '32 Chevys or Fords, Cobras, MGs, or anything else.

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    RonP - Thanks for the comment and yes this is fast. Good luck PcarMarket folks with this one!

  • RonP 1 year, 11 monthsago

    I have seen this beast in person, and it's everything as described. What a fun car to cruise Coast Highway in. I can only imagine that power plant with the lightweight body! Good luck with the sale.

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    Manpot - Thanks for the comment. While this car could be a trailer queen she love to be driven. Someone will LOVE the reliable and modern fuel injected flat 6 and the unbelievable power it can lay down. I did enjoy my air cooled 65 bug but the 1200 cc 40 hp with CA gas was tricky at times. This unicorn with her estimated 350 HP rockets if you like that sort of thing.

    I was not a fan of the badges or covering up the composite floor or the tube frame as this car is truly minimalist and race inspired. James Dean is watching this one.

  • Manpot 1 year, 11 monthsago

    So nice to see a rare replica not covered with Porsche badges pretending to be something it isnt.Nice car..but I would have kept it air cooled...Enjoy

  • moezilla 1 year, 11 monthsago

    Bid in the amount of $10,000

  • prmnorton1 1 year, 11 monthsago

    Bid in the amount of $5,000

  • Lelandspcarmarket (seller) 1 year, 11 monthsago

    Welcome Pcarfolks to my 6 cyl Subaru-Powered Spyder 718 RSK Replica auction! All the hard work has been done for you. No waiting at the DMV, this is legally registered with a clean title in hand with current CALIFORNIA registration. As far as I understand, the new buyer, if in California, will not need to ever smog it upon transfer of title. It would just be a quick trip to AAA for new registration and title transfer (assuming you have AAA). It’d be a shame if it doesn’t stay in the state with permeant convertible and almost constant blue skies made for cruising. We love to cruise down PCH and hit a few local car meet-ups with this unicorn of Spyder replicas.

    While the miles are unknown the story of the car and it sitting for 10 years and virtually no rust or undercarriage or wheel well wear leads me to reasonably estimate this spyder has only a few hundred miles on it.

    I did not have carpet installed or the under body or wheel wells painted so you can see how very little wear and tear there is on the vehicle. The original rotors and brakes are still on the car and have virtually no wear. Looking at all of the images you can see the car is mostly in original condition and very clean. This was for sure an impulse buy for me but not my first replica. I fell in love with the beck 550 but then I finally found the unicorn of these sweet cars. The RSK is killer cool and paired with the Subie 6cyl and 5 speed makes the car very very fast (and reliable) and almost every head turns when driving it.

    Some folks might say the 6cyl. Subie engine holds the car back but I believe the reliability/longevity and power more than make up for the addition of a water pump, radiator and coolant tubes. The headlights were a tribute to the new style Spyder LED headlights. Having owned and restored 65 bug and 454 71 Vette carbs (especially in CA) stink unless you run them every few days and burn race gas.

    The motor and trans are hard mounted to the frame so you feel the power that this beast lays down power to the road. The car’s estimated weight is about 1300 lbs. (or less) and the 3.6L Subie motor estimate might be 350 hp and 250 lb-tq but that is just an estimate. Depending on who is driving and how heavy the driver is you can get wheel spin moving through most of the gears – it is a ROCKET. I am 240 lbs. and 5’10 on a good posture day and the fit is snug for me but it works. My wife calls it an adult go-kart and I am an older man so it’s time to let her fly.
    All of the receipts that I have are in the gallery for you to inspect. Good luck everyone, I will try and answer to the best of my knowledge especially on the final day in the final few hours.

    The ECU is working well and the car will come with the wire diagram. The ECU can in fact be serviced (I checked with a few sources prior to buying the car) and I also found some new ECU’s that can link to my cell phone for more data and MPH.

    Ask questions, I will do my best to answer them, good luck.

Thunder Ranch Porsche 718 RSK Spyder Replica 3.6L
Final bid: $21,000 Ended
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