The Porsche 550 is a rare sportscar produced by Porsche during the years 1953 – 1956. It is rare because only 90 pcs. were produced. It is a mid-engined car with an air-cooled 4-cylinder 1498 CC called type 547 or known as the Fuhrmann engine. It was especially characterised by having 2 valves per cylinder, and it used dual overhead camshafts on each cylinder bank.
The engine was equipped with 2-barrel Solex PJJ carburettors and with dual ignition. This engine construction produced 110 hp and 6.200 rpm, which really was a lot for such a small and light sports car.
The engine was mounted as a mid-engined and as such it gave a more balanced weight distribution than the 356 model, where the engine was in the rear end.
It was supplied with a 4-speed fully synchronised gearbox from the beginning, but in the 1956 models a new developed 5-speed gearbox was used
With the light weight of a body in aluminium and tubular chassis frame and a powerful engine this rare Spyder achieved great racing history with remarkable results. The Spyder model that was produced in a small quantity became legendary when the famous young actor James Dean bought the car in September 1955. After just nine days ownership of the car, he decided to go to the racing track, but unfortunately on his way there, on September 30th, 1955, he had a severe car accident resulting in his death – and a written-off Spyder.
Due to its fabulous construction and its famous history, it has become a very valuable Porsche. Very few 100% original are put up for sale and when they are prices are around 4-5 m USD in 2023.
In spite of its almost inestimable high value the 550 is among the most frequently reproduced classic automobiles worldwide. Most of the replica 550 Spyders are made in fibre glass panels on a simple rare tubular chassis frame.
Four years ago, I got a great opportunity to get a replica hand-built specimen with tubular frame and aluminium panels – all exactly to OEM specifications. This opportunity was made possible as my highly skilled UK manufacturers managed to get an original 550 Spyder for light restoration in their workshop. They had this for a couple of years and piece by piece everything was made exactly according to how it was when it was first built by Porsche in 1955.
At the time of this writing, I am in process of getting the 547 1498 CC reproduction engine manufactured – again with attention to all details – which will take around one year to get.
Finally with the engine, gearbox, suspension, etc. installed I will be able to obtain a FIA approval by official authorities which will enable me to drive classic races.
To create such a vehicle is a very special feeling and a classic car story by itself. During the waiting period while the engine is being built, I will get a nice paint job done on the body. It will be the classic silver with red dart stripes along the rear fenders. When driving the car on the racing track it will keep on giving me a very emotional classic car feeling again and again – the Spyder heartbeat!