When Porsche started looking into competing in the roadster class, they took inspiration from their lightweight roadster, the Porsche 356. They took that iconic car and deleted the hard roof, giving birth to the 550 Spyder. The number 550 was used to commemorate the fact that this car was the 550th design project by Porsche. The car debuted in October 1953, and was destined for success, with the third prototype winning its first event at the Nurburgring Eifel Race in 1953, after which the 550 went on to win 95 victories and 75 class wins.
The 550 has an impressive history. One tragic note in that history includes the death of James Dean, when another car pulled out in front of him while he was driving his 550. The 1956 model introduced the 550A, which, although in appearance looked nearly identical to the first cars, featured many mechanical improvements. For this model, Porsche coupled a spaceframe chassis with a Fuhrmann four-cam 547 engine capable of 130 horsepower mated to a five speed manual gearbox. The 550A also featured a multi-link suspension that improved handling and reduced oversteering.
RM Sotheby’s will be offering a 1956 Porsche 550 RS Spyder by Windler in Paris, 2019, for those looking to add to their collection.