Porsche 550 Spyder

Above pictures are of the Porsche 550A Spyder

The 550's starting point was a 356 based spyder created by a VW dealer Walter Glockler of Frankfurt in the early 1950's

It was built on a tubular frame with an open body and powered by a tuned 1.1 engine. Glockler enjoyed some success racing this model before creating his second "special" in 1952 which had a 1500cc engine. It was this car which paved the way for the factory 550 spyder which followed shortly after.

(Click here to for pictures of Walter Glocklers 1952 Special)

Porsche unveiled a mid-engine, two-seat production car prototype called the Type 550 at the Paris motor show in October 1953. But it wasn't until late in 1954 that the Porsche factory actually had a production 550 Spyder to sell. After some initial success Porsche engineers set about Improving the 550, and a logical place for improvement was in the engine compartment. The 1500S pushrod engine was replaced with the new 1.5 litre, twin overhead camshaft, roller bearing light alloy racing engine designed by Dr Ernst Fuhrmann. It was called the Type 547 it produced 110 horsepower at a screaming 7800 rpm. Even though the cars engines performance had been drastically improved it proved itself to be very reliable even in long-distance events.

Before the 550 series was retired, the engine was improved further to produce 135 horsepower at 7200rpm.

In 1956, Porsche decided to update the 550 chassis, essentially re-designing the car in the process. The new space frame chassis was both lighter and stiffer resulting in a car that weighed just 1170 pounds. It was named the 550A. The car went straight out and proved itself by winning a 1,000-kilometer endurance race at the Nurbring and followed soon after with a surprising first in the Targa Florio. The 550A ceased racing after the 1958 season but this was only the beginning for Porsche in motorsport.