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Porsche 718 W-RS Spyder (1961), chassis 047, Grossmutter, Porsche Museum, Stuttgart, Germany, May 2019
1961 Porsche 718 W-RS Spyder ‘Grossmutter’ (chassis #047)
1961 Porsche 718 W-RS Spyder ‘Grossmutter’ (chassis #047) photographed at the Porsche Museum, May 2019

The word unique is a much-overused word today, as it is applied, it seems, to just about anything that is produced in small numbers, or even just to enhance a claim about something unusual. In fact, the word unique should really only be applied to something when it is: the only one of its kind; unlike anything else; existing as the only one or as the sole example. So, when we describe the Porsche 718 W-RS Spyder as a unique racing car, it really is just that, one of a kind.

1961 Porsche 718 W-RS Spyder ‘Grossmutter’ (chassis #047)
1961 Porsche 718 W-RS Spyder ‘Grossmutter’ (chassis #047) photographed at the Porsche Museum, May 2019

In 1961, a new design of racer was produced that would be able to accommodate Porsche’s new 8-cylinder that was undergoing testing. Two 718 Coupes and one Spyder were produced, the latter being built from the start with a 4-inch longer chassis to take the 8-cylinder engine. The 718 RS Spyder, being chassis #047, was given the prefix “W” as it was intended to run in the World Sports Car Championship. As it happened, the 8-cylinder engine had not completed its test program, and so when all three race cars were ready for action, they all received the proven 4-cylinder 4-cam Fuhrmann engine.
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