"1956 Porsche 550 RS Spyder "
Porsche wall art by Alfred Newbury
Porsche’s brilliant ‘giant killer’, the 550 Spyder, earned a special place in the annals of international motor racing history.
The fledgling automaker’s first product specifically designed for competition, it was inspired by several successful Porsche-powered, privateer-built ‘specials’ in the early 1950s.
Quick to succeed, the open-topped, mid-engined Spyders dominated their inaugural outing at the Nürburgring in May 1953 in preparation for Le Mans a month later, where they would claim 1st and 2nd in their class.
It was an auspicious beginning; 550 RS Spyders were steadily improved with upgraded suspensions, and most importantly, with the new 1,500-cc Type 547 DOHC engine designed by Dr Ernst Fuhrmann. Fed by a pair of twin-choke downdraft carburettors, these tough little roller-bearing motors with dry-sump lubrication and twin ignition developed a solid 110 bhp. Tipping the scales at approximately 550 kg, 110 bhp was plenty of power to put the 550 Spyder on the podium at races around the world.
With these new engines, the 550 RS was soon established as consistent winners in small-displacement sports racing.
Production of customer Spyders began in 1955, enjoying a reputation as a very balanced, almost docile racing car with good power and excellent handling characteristics. Not only supremely competitive, these cars were truly just as good to look at as they were to drive, and both drivers and motorsport fans alike quickly fell in love with Porsche’s little Spyders.
I hope you enjoyed that piece of Porsche history.
Cheers --- Alfred Newbury
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