A Minnesota man is getting international attention for designing and building vintage-styled Porsches right in his own barn. Chris Runge, 35, told FOX 9 he spends nearly 1,000 hours on each customized aluminum-bodied car, which are inspired by post-WWII race cars from Germany.
“I've had a lifelong passion for anything with wheels and aerodynamic design,” Runge said. “When I first learned of the post-WWII German ‘eigenbau' racers as a child, I was enamored. I have been fortunate to own many Porsche cars but I had always wanted something unique and aluminum-bodied. However, finding one of those cars is nearly impossible and if you do find one, the cost can be several million dollars. ”
Runge began his creations in 2011 when he was able to acquire many of the tools needed with a "barn find" Porsche he bought in rural South Dakota. Little did he know that Porsche and the many vintage metal working tools it came with would shape his future dream car.
That dream car was finally finished in August 2012. He reminisces the feeling of a "time machine" as he first drove the entirely hand-built car through the Minnesota country roads near his home in Alexandria.
(Shown in the following photos is #FF003, the third of the "Frankfurt Flyer" series)
"The car captured everything I had imagined of those wartime racers,” Runge said.
The first car was built solely for his own pleasure and never meant to be shown. It wasn't long though as word spread of what Runge calls the "Frankfurt Flyer" invitations to car events poured in from around the world, along with fellow speed enthusiasts wanting their own version of the car.
Runge went on to build three more Frankfurt Flyers, each custom built to owners specifications. The second of the series (FF002) was an entirely new chassis design built as a two-seated vehicle. He integrated period headlights, a full leather interior and more accessibility for tuning and maintenance.
Runge has since collaborated with Porsche/VW car builder Chuck Beck for chassis designs, and Porsche/VW engine expert and land speed record setter Tom Bruch for the engines.
He currently has a "commissioned" build of chassis #004 of the "Frankfurt Flyer" on Ebay here. The listing is for an unbuilt car since “nearly every detail is bespoke to your personal taste, literally hand built.” He said delivery time takes about 10 months from initiation.
Runge is able to share his creations with his wife of thirteen years, his 11-year-old daughter, and his 10-year-old son. When asked what car he drives on a regular basis, he said his main summer transportation is a 1974 Volkswagen Campmobile -- “but for family purposes, I have an SUV.”
To see more of Runge's work go to flyermotorwerks.com