Also known as "Spyder" or "RS", was the first Porsche racing car. Inspired by 356, created and raced by Walter Glocker. The very first victories came in 1955 LeMans, later in 1956 Targa Florio race. The 550's racing success has been a major, if not the major, contributing factor to Porsche's commercial success
Introduced in 1953 at the Paris Motor Show, the 550 featured a two-seat, open top aluminum body wrapped over a tubular ladder chassis with a MR layout mid/rear mounted, 1.5 litre, air-cooled flat-4 engine which weighed in at just 550 kg.
The type 547 engine with its twin cam, twin plug and dual distributors terrorized the larger displacements as well as its own class. The 1954 LeMans proved difficult due to piston failure.
In the 1955 LeMans, the Porsche 550 gave a win, place, show performance in the 1.5 liter and a 1st - 2nd in the 1.1 liter classes. Beyond a 4th place overall finish, the Spyder was awarded The Index of Performance for the car with best combined speed and economy in the entire race field. In 1956 an "improved" 550A Coupe won its class, placing 5th overall.
The 550 is among the most frequently reproduced classic automobiles, like the Shelby Cobra and Lotus Seven. If you are interested in having a 550, check out these "replicators":
Chuck Beck Motorsports
Chamonix do Brasil