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Retro Revival: Transforming a ‘Copen’ into a Porsche ‘356’ Tribute

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TEXT: 青木邦敏(AOKI Kunitoshi)  PHOTO: 青木邦敏(AOKI Kunitoshi)

  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen
  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen
  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen
  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen
  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen
  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen
  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen
  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen
  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen
  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen
  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen
  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen
  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen
  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen
  • Replica vehicle of Porsche 356 specification based on Daihatsu Copen

Copen-based Porsche 356 replica

The Porsche 356 was introduced in 1948 and was the first sports car to bear the Porsche name. Nowadays, its value as a collector’s car has increased and it has become one of the most coveted cars for car enthusiasts. Mr. Kuriyama, introduced here, is one such person who was fascinated by the styling of the Porsche 356. Instead of the 356, which is a rare and expensive car that commands a premium price, he came across the Daihatsu Copen, which looks very similar to the 356, and this changed his car life.

356 body kit for the Copen

We have introduced a Copen-based Porsche 356 replica in the past, but that car was sold in the style of a complete car and was priced at a little more than 4.4 million yen. Therefore, Mr. Kuriyama called on his friends who also drive a Copen to gather information to build a Porsche 356 replica based on his favorite car, the Copen. Thanks to his efforts, he was able to find a shop that sells 356 replica body kits for the Copen. When they heard that the price of the body kit was around 1.5 million yen (approx. 10,000 USD), they were surprised but excited.

The body kit was sold at a shop called DUCKS-GARDEN in Ibaraki Prefecture. The point is that the silhouette is important, with the Porsche 356 Speedster as the motif. Furthermore, the design structure of the surfaces and lines not only matched the body of the Copen, but also kept it within the standards for the kei-cars.

This body kit is divided into a front section and a rear section. The front body kit includes a front bumper, front wings, bonnet, halogen headlights for the Daihatsu ‘Mira GINO’, and headlight bezels. The rear body kit, on the other hand, includes a rear bumper, rear wings, filler lid, boot lid outer, stop lamps, indicators, and dummy aluminum outlet ducts.

The front section can be bolted on for the most part, but for the rear, the wings, boot lid outer, and filler lid require panel bonding and puttying around the perimeter.

Many genuine Porsche parts were also fitted

When Mr Kuriyama saw the completed car, he was impressed that the electric roof of the Copen was functioning properly, but there was one detail that he just couldn’t accept. The outlet ducts at the rear were completely dummy, but he was concerned about the protrusion of the ducts. So, immediately after taking delivery of the car, he asked the shop to modify this part so that it would be flat and body-matched.

Also by chance, when I uploaded the completed car on social media, I received a message from a Porsche specialist customization shop saying, “You’re doing something interesting!” and they were very kind to offer to give me some of their 356 blinkers as a gift.

This led me to visit a custom shop specializing in Porsches to look for parts that I could use. Through this shop, I got parts for Porsche and started to install Porsche parts one after another on my Copen. Currently, the blinkers, headlights, bonnet center bar, and grille badge are all Porsche parts, and he is proud of the fact that he has customized his car with genuine Porsche parts.

A lovely looking Copen 356 Speedster. The bonnet band and tonneau cover are completely original works. The orange parts look stylish against the emerald blue body color. Incidentally, we didn’t want to drill holes in the bonnet, so the bands are attached using magnets.

The style of the car was produced to make it a Porsche 356, but the inside was not modified and it remains a Copen, which is a gap. Despite its classic appearance, the Porsche 356 replica has modern driving, performance, and ride comfort. It is a fascinating combination of classic style and functionality.

translated by DeepL

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