If You Can’t Have the Rare Special Edition You Want, Build Your Own

Sometimes, you can get what you want, but you're still going to have to work for it.

Cars & Bids

It's getting harder and harder to find some of the special, rare and performance editions of cars we always dreamed of owning. Things like Acura Integra Type Rs, COPO Camaros, and Cayenne S Transsyberias are out of reach for many of us, but the good news is that the cars they're based off of aren't. Instead of bemoaning that the price is too damn high, perhaps you should get your hands dirty. 

Up for sale on Cars & Bids at the moment is a replica of one of the rare vehicles I'd love to have: a Cayenne S Transsyberia. Only 600 of these were sold in the United States, according to Road & Track, and they fetch a pretty penny accordingly. Even fewer of the racing versions were made: 26. 

Cars & Bids

It's not a complete copy of the original, but it looks cool. 

This replica made out of a regular 2006 Cayenne S that's up for sale is shiny, but not quite so precious. Normal Cayenne Ses are pretty common, and a quick scan of the ones for sale on CarGurus shows that even nice ones are going for under $20,000 nowadays, with rougher examples landing under $10,000. The Cayenne has been a big seller for Porsche since it was new, so if you're prone to feeling guilty for covering a limited-run or expensive car in muck, congrats! There's very little reason to feel guilty about hooning a pretty common car. 

The greatest part of a replica build is that you can do exactly what you want to it and drive it to your heart's content. This build didn't add the roof lights or the black-and-bright-orange interior of the real Transsyberia, but did add a a hitch-mounted spare tire carrier and a roof rack. 

It also didn't add all of the original Transsyberia's functional mods, as it really just features a brush guard with fog lamps, meatier tires and wheel spacers to accommodate those. While normal Cayennes are pretty capable as-is, I'd have opted for mimicking the real Transsyberia's rock rails and meatier under-body protection instead, as other Transsyberia-like builds have done. 

That's the beauty of a replica, though. You can switch it up however you want, need or can afford at the moment with no worries about "ruining" a classic through the simple acts of customizing and enjoying it. Even if it's mainly the aesthetics that you like, go for it! Make something you'll enjoy.

You may have to dig into the parts catalog, or even into the inner workings of the engine and transmission to get everything you want. Some automakers like General Motors make it relatively easy to order performance parts (including even bodies and engines) straight from the factory, but for others, you may have to scour for-sale sites, forums, junkyards and elsewhere. Many desirable cars with harder-to-find special editions—looking at you, Honda Civics and Mazda Miatas—also have robust aftermarket support that can get you something close to or better than what came on your rare car of choice. 

You (or a shop you trust) may even have to fabricate some parts that aren't available. Maybe you'll opt to upgrade some parts from the car you're mimicking, like this Cayenne's brush guard with extra spotlights down low. This extra work could be worth it to get exactly what you want.

Brent Coleman

The Mirage-based Evo VI TME replica definitely looks the part.

Sure, not every car is particularly advisable for this, and you may even spend more money in the long run on converting some cars over to the special trim you'd rather have than you would by just finding and buying one. Trying to make a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution out of a regular Lancer will probably cost you more than just buying a used Evo. Yet you can't get an ultra-rare Evo VI Tommi Makinen Edition in the United States yet, and that one will no doubt be expensive as hell once it passes the 25-year mark. Suddenly, the guy who spent years building an Evo VI TME out of a Mirage makes sense. 

Getting tired of waiting is another good reason to just start building what you want. Hey, it worked for the Tesla Cyberquad guy. 

So, quit complaining that all of the special edition cars you love are out of reach. Get dirty. Learn what makes those unobtanium models special and make one yourself. Will you be able to sell your replica build for as much money as the real deal? Probably not. Will you have more fun with it? Absolutely. 

[H/T too many people to list. Yes, I saw the Cayenne and it is neat. Thank you.]

Got a tip? Send us a note: tips@thedrive.com