One year before Porsche started production of the legendary RS Spyder, they experimented several unique 550 Prototypes. Two of these were fitted with removable hardtops (Chassis #550-01 and #550-02) that transformed the diminutive roadster into a sleek coupe. These were quite successful on faster circuits, but the roadster was later preferred as a more saleable car. Only 13 spyder-bodied prototypes were made (Chassis #550-03 and #550-15) until regular production began in 1954 of the Porsche RS Spyder.
Given that only 90 Porsche 550 Spyder’s were made, we decided to dive into each chassis and tell you a brief story about each variant and chassis number. For a full in-depth review of each chassis number please take a look at Type550.com, we got most of this content from that wonderful site.
Porsche assigned build numbers to each of the 550/1500RS cars built (RS short of rennsport which translates to ‘racing’ in English), with the prototype starting with 2-digit chassis numbers, 550-01 through to 550-15. The first ‘production’ 550 was assigned a 4-digit chassis number, 550-0016 with the last ‘documented’ spyder as 550-0090.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0016
Chassis #550-0016 was the first production Porsche 550 Spyder and went into production in September 1954. In many ways this car was still a prototype in nature because it was the first production car built by Wendler on its own frame, so they had to develop tooling and production techniques. With an additional three bodies in production by December, 550-0016 was not completed until 20th January 1955. It was the third car to be delivered with 550-0018 delivered five days before. The spyder was mated with the latest 1498cc type 547 quad cam engine design which started with the new numbering sequence of 90001. 550-0016 was finished with blue darts along its rounded rear fenders and a blue vinyl interior. It was sold to Josef Jeser and was raced in April 1955 at the Solitude Rally (and won).
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0017
Chassis #550-0017 was completed on 19th January 1955 as a white spyder with blue darts and beige interior. It was fitted with a quad cam engine # 90003 and was the first 550 spyder to be exported to the US. Max Hoffman placed his first order for one of the new customer 550 spyders on the 3rd November 1954 on behalf of the new owner, Mr Briggs S. Cunningham from Green Farms, Connecticut. The car was delivered on the 17th February to Hoffman’s VW dealership in New York. Briggs Cunningham was an American entrepreneur and sportsman, who took delivery of the spyder and entered it into the Fort Pierce races on 25th February 1955.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0018
Chassis #550-0018 was the first delivered customer spyder, which was collected by Kurt Aherns on 15th January 1955. The 550 was white with red darts and beige interior with engine number 90002. As it was the first customer spyder, there was a great photo opportunity to hand over the keys to the new owner. It was raced at the Ice Race at Lake Feden in winter and it won. Aherns raced the spyder at a number of tracks in Germany throughout 1955.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0019
Chassis #550-0019 was completed on 27th January 1955 and exported to the US at the same time as 550-0017 to Hoffman’s dealership. The new owner was experienced racer Ed Crawford, who wanted to upgrade from his Porsche 356 America. 550-0019 was blue with white darts, fitted with engine #90002.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0020
Chassis #550-0020 was the fourth customer type 550 spyder built by Porsche in Zuffenhausen and completed on the 2nd February 1955, with Type 547 engine number 90006. The body was painted blue with white tail darts and a tan interior. Once again is was ordered by Max Hoffman and the car was eventually purchased by Art Bunker, a prominent US racing driver who owned a Porsche – Volkswagen dealership in Kansas City. The first race Bunker entered 550-0020 in was the 1955, 12 hour Sebring race. He qualified but did not race.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0021
Chassis #550-0021 was the first red 550 spyder to be completed on 2nd February 1955 at the Porsche factory. The red body with white racing darts and tan interior, it was fitted with engine number P90007 and was destined to be delivered to Max Hoffman dealership. It was entered in the March 1955 Sebring race, yet remained as a spare car for Ed Crawford who drove 550-0019 instead.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0022
Chassis #550-0022 was completed on 14th February 1955, finished in white paint with blue darts, tan interior and engine # 90009. It was a US delivered spyder and it was entered on 13 March into the 12 hour Sebring race with new owner Norman Christianson and Donald McKnought, but did not finish due to failed brakes.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0023
Chassis #550-0023 was completed on 22nd February 1955 with engine #90008 and shipped to the US to Max Hoffman’s dealership. It is documented as painted silver with red darts, but the first owner American Hank Robb, raced the spyder in the Midland Empire Sports Car Races in July 1955, where the car was painted blue with large air intake holes cut into the front nose. It is unsure if this was modified by the owner or before he took possession of the car.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0024
Chassis #550-0024 was completed on the 22nd February 1955 and (you guessed it), was a US delivered car. Starting out as a white 550 with red interior and engine number 90011, it was bought by veteran racer Frederick Procter who had previously owned and raced Glockler #3 and a 356 Super before racing a Maserati. The desire to own a new sports car out of Germany was too much of a temptation and raced it for the first time around the Cumberland track in May 1955 finishing 7th. Over the next few months he mastered the agile machine finishing 2nd in many races.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0025
Chassis #550-0025 was a French delivered spyder with French blue exterior and white darts and tan interior. Completed on the 28 February 1955 with engine # P90014 it was delivered to its new owner Alexandre Gacon who raced it the next month in the Lyon-Charbonnieres Rally along with co driver Henri Arcan. Gacon raced the car at a number of rallies and hill climbs throughout France up until 1958 with great success.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0026
Chassis #550-0026 was a US delivered 550 Spyder and was ordered by racing driver John Porter who had previously designed and built the Aardvark which was a small bore little sports racer based on the French Panhard Junior sports car. With engine # P90016, the white spyder with red darts was complete on 2nd March 1955. Porter raced his spyder on the west coast against competitors like James Dean in his 356 speedster.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0027
Chassis #550-0027 was another French delivered 550 spyder, delivered to a dealership owned by Auguste Veuillet. The French blue spyder with white darts was delivered on 15th March 1955 with engine # P90015. The spyder was bought by Marcel Balsa and was entered it into the Montlhery Coupes USA race shortly after delivery finishing 1st. Over the next couple of months he raced the 550 at different endurance races like the Mille Miglia XXII, Montlhery 24 h Paris, Bol d’Or and the Spa-Francorchamps, GP in Belgium.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0028
Chassis #550-0028 was one of two 550 spyders ordered for the Swiss racing team. With a special colour scheme of red body, white fender darts and white front hood, the spyder was completed on the 28th February 1955 with engine # P90012. It was initially used for training new drivers for the Swiss team under instruction of the team owner Hans Stanek. In May 1955, the spyder was entered into the Hockenheim Rhein Cup Race and also the Eifel Race at the Nurburgring finishing 5th.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0029
Chassis #550-0029 was US delivered car, which was completed on the 23rd of March 1955. The white spyder with red darts was ordered by Dr Troy McHenry an orthopaedic surgeon on the west coast. On 18th June, McHenry’s first race was at Hansen Dam in Los Angeles and he continued to race it throughout the 1955 and 1956.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0030
Chassis #550-0030 was a Porsche Werks cars, but not allocated for team racing like LeMans. The spyder was supposed to be complete for the 1955 Mille Miglia race on the 30th April, but it wasn’t ready until the following month where it lined up as a Porsche Werks entry in the May Eifel Race at the Nürburgring piloted by team drivers Karl Busch and Richard von Frankenberg finishing 11th in class. The silver spyder with red darts and beige interior was fitted the engine # P90020.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0031
Chassis #550-0031 was completed on 12 March 1955 with a silver body and red darts, fitted with engine # P90018. The car was purchased by Swiss driver Walter Ringgenberg. He drove the car in speed trials at the Montlhery track in France and on the 18th March, set six speed records at the track. Ringgenberg entered the spyder into a number of European races including Hockenheim and finished first. Most famously, the car was entered into the 1000 km Nurburgring in May 1956, but was disqualified due to a large wing which was fitted and it obscured the vision of the track for the drivers behind him.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0032
Chassis #550-0032 was delivered to France on 21st March 1955 with a blue body and white fender darts and fitted with engine # P90021. The dealership owner (Auguste Veuillet) entered the car into the Montlhery 24 h Paris race on the 14th May along with co driver Gonzague Olivier finishing first overall. They achieved first in class two weeks later at the 12 h Hyeres South of France race.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0033
Chassis #550-0033 was ordered by German racing great Ernst Lautenschlager and was delivered on 29th March 1955 painted white but without colored darts on its rear fenders and was fitted with engine #P90025. It was first entered into the Montlhery Coupe de Paris race on April 17 with Lautenschlager finishing 2nd.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0034
Chassis #550-0034 was another French delivered 550 spyder with blue and white darts on the 23rd April 1955 with engine #P90033. The first owner was Gonzague Olivier who raced it in the May 1955 Spa-Francorchamps GP in Belgium finishing 2nd. It was later sold to Roger Loyer who was a French race driver . Loyer used the car to promote his service business but also raced it at events like the Montlhery Coupe d’Automne in 1956.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0035
Chassis #550-0035 was an Italian delivered spyder on the 12 April 1955 ready for the Mille Miglia race 2 weeks later. It was a white 550 with blue darts and engine # P90029. The spyder was piloted by Araldo Sassone who finished 4th in class in the Mille Miglia.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0036
Chassis #550-0036 was completed late April 1955 and was white with blue darts on the rear fenders. With engine # P90035, it was delivered to vetran German driver Theo Helfrich who wanted a new car for the 1955 season. His first race was at Hockenheim on the 8th May, but due to mechanical issues he did not finish. He entered both the 500 km Nurburgring and Avus GP in Berlin in the following months.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0037
Chassis #550-0037 was completed on 23rd April 1955 and was delivered to the Porsche Werks Department to be fitted with racing modifications. It got a cool ‘bubble’ roof to be fitted over the driver’s canopy to aid with aerodynamics and increase top speed. The silver spyder with engine # 90026 was tested at the Rhein Cup Race but ultimately while was faster, it was also unbearable for the driver.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0038
Chassis #550-0038 was delivered to Portugal. Guerin who was the Portuguese dealer received two spyders for local drivers. 550-0038 was completed on 29th April 1955 which was a white spyder with burgundy darts on both the front and rear fenders fitted with engine # P90031.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0039
Chassis #550-0039 was the second Portuguese 550 spyder. It was also white with burgundy darts, but only along the rear fenders. The spyder was fitted with a quad cam engine # P90032. Joaquin Felipe Nogueira bought the spyder off the local dealer and entered it into the GP Tangier race along side 550-0038.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0040
Chassis #550-0040 was only the 3rd spyder produced in red which had white darts on the rear fenders, with engine # P90039. In May of 1955, new owner Ernst Vogel, purchased his 550 spyder from the factory, where he continued his winning streak a couple of weeks later at the Austrian Spa Prix.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0041
Chassis #550-0041 was a silver spyder with red darts, completed on 2nd May 1955 for German driver Richard Trenkel. The following week he entered the car in the Hockenheim – Rhein Cup Race finishing 4th. The same month he entered the Eifel Race at the Nurburgring track. His ownership of the car was short lived, selling it to Mathieu Hezemans who owned and raced the car until 1960.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0042
Chassis #550-0042 was completed on 18th May 1955 finished in blue body and white darts with engine # P90036. There is very little race history on this spyder and it is unsure if it was delivered to a French owner. There are records that indicate that in 1956 the car raced in Switzerland in both GPs and hill climbs like the Mitholz-Kandersteg Hill Climb.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0043
Chassis #550-07 went into production as a prototype 550 and was given to Wendler Karosserie in Reutlingen in a special arrangement to demonstrate their coach building skills to Porsche to try and secure the contract for the remaining prototypes and the type 550 customer production builds. Porsche had not allocated a Weinsberg designed chassis frame (550-07) to this build, but one of the new Wendler frames – 550-0043, from the supply allocated for customer cars specifically for Porsche builds. Porsche welded a new identification plate of ‘550-07’ over the existing chassis plate ‘550-0043’ already on the frame, which is the only 550 chassis known to have been renumbered.
550-07 was built as a race-test car for Porsche and was the first Wendler built car on a Wendler built frame. It was built initially as a Buckelwagen prototype. Unfortunately it did not meet design regulations when assessed by the German Federal Ministry of Transport. 550-07 was then rebodied with the same fixed rear body design of 550-05 and fitted with Rudge wheels. It was first sold to the Paris Porsche dealer Sonauto, owned by Auguste Veuillet who promoted the upcoming Montlhéry Coupe du Printemps race in it. The 550 was entered into a number of races including the Tour de France with Annie Bousquet and Marie Claire Beaulieu as drivers.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0044
Chassis #550-0044 was completed June 1955 with a silver body and red darts and engine # P90042. The spyder was sent to Morocco and entered the Fes race in June with French driver Jean Clabou at the wheel finishing 1st. Another driver was Mr Plessard who raced the spyder at the Casablanca Circuit in Morocco.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0045
Chassis #550-0045 was the last chassis allocated for the first production run of the customer spyders. It was completed June 1955 and painted in the Swedish colours of blue body and yellow darts, but with additional blue stripes across the front hood as requested by the new owner Gert Kaiser from Sweden. At the same time the Werks team took delivery of the Werks spyders which had the updated front end with air intakes for brake cooling cut into the nose. On the 7th August Kaiser entered the GP Sweden Kristianstad finishing 4th.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0046
Chassis #550–0046 was the first of the Werks team spyders which was completed on 20th May 1955 and sent to the racing team workshop to be prepared for the LeMans race which Porsche had entered three spyders into. It was painted German racing silver with no coloured darts. It was fitted with engine #P90050. The spyder was the first completed for the 2nd production run of spyders and had the new body modification to the front end with one air intake hole cut into the nose on each side which went through to the front wheel wells to push air through to cool the drum brakes faster.
The spyder was ready for the most important race for the Porsche team since the spyder went into full production, the 1955 LeMans on 11th June 1955. Helmut Polensky and Richard von Frankenberg took turns to fight off the class competitors like the Oscas to take class victory and 4th overall. The second Werks race was the 500 km Nurburgring in Germany where Herbert Linge finished 6th. The next recorded event was a tribute race in February 1956 at Zell am See Professor Porsche Memorial Ice Race piloted by team manager Huschke von Hanstein who finished 2nd.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0047
Chassis #550-0047 was completed at the same time as the other two Werks spyders in May 1955. With engine # P90051 and painted in German racing silver with green darts so the pit team could tell which spyder it was on the track, the spyder was prepared by the racing team. 550-0047 had quite a distinguished racing career piloted by many of the racing greats at the time like Helm Glockler, Richard von Frankenberg, Stirling Moss, Jack McAfee and Ruth Levy.
For the June LeMans race it finished 3rd in class and 6th overall piloted by Helm Glockler and Jaroslav Juhan. After races at the 500 km Nurburgring and Berlin GP, the spyder was sold to John Edgar in the US after winning 1st place at the 1956 Sebring 12 hour race. Edgar who also had Ferraris in his team gave McAfee the opportunity to race this nimble car around tracks like Pebble Beach and Cumberland. Together with Skip Hudson and Ruth Levy, the team became a powerhouse on the West coast with many victories.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0048
Chassis #550-0048 was completed on 20th May 1955 and had been fitted with a 1098cc pushrod 4-cylinder Boxer Porsche engine # P90054 and was painted German racing silver with yellow darts. Chassis 0048 was one of three sister 550 spyders manufactured during May 1955 in the Race Department in Porsche Stuttgart’s Werk Nr 1 facility. The three cars were constructed specifically to compete in that year’s Le Mans 24-Hours race, by far the most important endurance event of the motor racing season. The spyders were fitted with Wendler-made aluminium bodies, on which the oil tank filler caps were exposed on the right rear quarter instead of being hidden beneath the rear deck. The front rubber strip was also omitted in the updated design to allow two small-dimension oval cooling holes to be punched-through to feed direct airflow through to the front drum brakes.
The spyder was entered into the 1.1 litre class at the June LeMans race piloted by Zora Arkus Duntov and Parisian dealer Auguste Veuillet. At the finish line the spyder took the chequered flag and finished 13th overall, which was a great victory for Porsche. In August, the spyder was fitted with a four cam, 1.5 litre engine (no. P90054) and was taken to Sweden for the GP at Kristianstad, where it finished 3rd. 550-0048 was sold and shipped to the US for its new owner and Porsche dealer Art Bunker.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0049
Chassis #550-0049 was the first customer car completed in the second production run on the 22 June 1955, which was silver with red darts and a red interior, complete with engine # P90044. It is not clear who the first owner was, but the spyder was delivered to the US and by May 1956, it was owned and raced by Jack Manting with his first race in Cumberland finishing 4th. One of Manting’s favourite races was the Elkhart Lake Road America which he entered 8 times. He raced the spyder until September 1959.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0050
Chassis #550-0050 was completed on the 28th June 1955 and was one of the west coast US deliveries with the updated body design. The body was silver without any colored darts and black interior, with engine # P90046 fitted. Unlike many spyders, it was owned by one owner for most of its competitive life, Jim Cook, who along with C. Pitt Browne Jr raced the car up until 1965.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0051
Chassis #550-0051 left the Porsche factory on the 30th June 1955 to be delivered to the French distributor Sonauto, finished in French blue paint with white darts and tan interior. It was fitted with engine # P90047. The spyder was ordered by well-known French racing driver Gustave Olivier, who wanted to use the car mainly for racing purposes, so the frame was modified to a high rail design with extra bracing to reinforce the frame. On the 17th August, Olivier entered the Liege-Rome-Liege race in Italy with the spyder fitted with a large rally style windscreen and spare strapped to the rear deck.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0052
Chassis #550-0052 was delivered around the end of June 1955 with a silver body and tan interior, fitted with engine # P90045. It was exported to the US for veteran race driver Sam Weiss who traded in his Osca MT4. Weiss’s first race was on the 18th March 1956 at the Stockton races where he didn’t qualify, but his following race at Pebble Beach saw him finish in 3rd place.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0053
Chassis #550-0053, was delivered to John von Neumann’s Competition Motors of Hollywood in early July 1955 for its new owner Eldon C. Beagle of Sacramento. With engine number #P90049, the spyder was finished in silver with red upholstery and a full double windshield. It was the first in a line of Porsche racing Spyders that Beagle owned and campaigned.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0054
Chassis #550-0054 was completed on 14th July 1955 in silver with blue darts and fitted with engine #P90048. The spyder was shipped to the US, for an order placed by west coast driver Bob Donner who started racing it in May 1956 at Bakersfield where he finished 8th.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0055
Chassis #550-0055 was completed on 15th July 1955 as a silver bodied spyder with red interior and red darts along the rear fenders, fitted with engine #P90059. The spyder was destined to the west coast of the US, ordered by actor James Dean who traded in his Porsche Speedster for one of the new 550 spyders from Porsche’s US dealer Johnny von Neumann at Competition Motors. The spyder was delivered on 21 September. Dean had only owned the car for nine days before he decided to drive it to his first race at Salinas on the 30th September. Tragically he did not make it to the start line as he was involved in an accident en route to the track.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0056
Chassis #550-0056 was completed on the 21st July 1955 and was the only new spyder to be shipped to Australia arriving in October. Finished in the typical French racing colors it was fitted with engine # P90060, it was ordered by the new Australian distributor for Porsche, Norman Hamilton. The car competed in numerous racing events, attracting legendary drivers such as Jack Brabham and Stirling Moss behind the wheel.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0057
Chassis #550-0057 was completed on 31st July 1955 and delivered new to the Porsche dealership in Salzburg. The spyder was silver with beige interior and fitted with engine #P90043. It was only on loan to Heinz Knoch where he raced it on the 25th March 1956 at the Vienna-HohenstraBen (Mountain Pass) Race where he finished 2nd.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0058
Chassis #550-0058 was completed on the 8th August 1955 with silver paint and a red interior. Purely coincidental, it had a matching engine # P90058. The spyder was destined to the US and was bought by Donald ‘Buddy’ Berlin whose first race in it was in the Fort Sumner Trophy in May 1956.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0059
Chassis #550-0059 was a white spyder with red interior completed on the 12th August 1955 and fitted with engine # P90064. It was destined for the West coast of the US and was owned by Jim and Mae Harbour who raced the spyder from July 1957 at tracks like Courtland and the Gainesville Airport, with Mae always finishing at the head of the pack.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0060
Chassis #550-0060 was a blue spyder with white darts a beige interior completed mid July 1955 with engine # P90063. The spyder was a French delivered car to new owner Robert Dutoit, but there is a discrepancy whether the early race results for Dutoit are for 550-0051 or 550-0060. The first race entered was the August 1955 500 km Nurburgring where he finished 9th.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0061
Chassis #550-0061 was completed on the 6th September 1955 and delivered to the US. The spyder was finished in silver with a black interior. In December 1957 it was entered into the Nassau Speed Week Oaks Field and raced by Jean Speidel and John Cochran in the Ladies race, Memorial Trophy, Nassau TT and the Porsche Race.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0062
Chassis #550-0062 was completed on the 8th September 1955 with a silver body and beige interior. The spyder was shipped to the US east coast dealer Hoffman Motors Corporation of New York. After a short stint with one of the salesmen, the spyder was sold to Jim Lowe who entered it into his first race in May 1957 at La Junta.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0063
Chassis #550-0063 was completed on 22 September 1955 with silver paint and engine # P90038. The spyder was shipped to the US and bought by team owner William Edgar who raced it for the first and only time on 17th May 1957 at Cumberland finishing 5th. Like most of Edgar’s cars, he had a number of driving professionals to pilot different events for him.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0064
Chassis #550-0064 was completed on 27th September 1955 with a silver body and engine # P90073 and shipped to the US for its new owners Newton and Lucelle Davis. The first race was on 28th September 1957 at Bridgehampton where Newton finished 7th. Newton raced throughout the 1958 season.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0065
Chassis #550-0065 was completed on 28th September 1955 with engine # P90074. There are no factory records for this car specifying the colour or delivery details plus no race history on this car.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0066
There is very little history of 550-0066 except it was built on 23rd September 1955 with engine # P90070.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0067
Chassis #550-0067 was completed on 29 September 1955 as a French spyder finished in blue with white darts and beige interior and was fitted with engine # P90072. The car was delivered on the 11th November to the French dealership Sonauto but was displayed at the Paris Auto Show on the 6th October beforehand to promote the spyder as a customer car on the Porsche stand. Auguste Veuillet who owned the Sonauto dealership kept the spyder for racing with the first recorded race in June 1956 at the 1000 km Monza.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0068
Chassis #550-0068 was one of the later built Porsche 550RS customer Spyders, completed on 19th September 1955. With an original four cam engine number 90071 and matching transmission number 10061, the Spyder was used by Porsche to promote the latest models available at the Frankfurt IAA Auto Show three days later on the 22nd September. According to the Porsche records, the Spyder was delivered with the body painted silver with blue tail darts and beige interior. After the motor show, 550-0068 was shipped to Max Hoffman.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0069
Chassis #550-0069 was completed on 14th October 1955, finished in white with engine # P90075. The spyder was ordered by Albert Hosking of Pasadena California who owned a number of 550s. 550-0069 was painted red when Hosking owned it, so it is unsure if it was delivered red or painted later. The spyder was maintained by car builder Art Sparks and mechanic Clyde Jones from Indianapolis, and was driven by Jean Pierre Kunstle and Johnny Mantz who’s first race was at Nassau Speed Week in December 1955, where he finished third.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0070
Chassis #550-0070 was a silver spyder with red darts and red interior, fitted with engine # P90069. It was completed on the 14th October 1955 and shipped to the US and bought by John Hudson who entered it into the Pebble Beach race in April 1956. Only after two months, it was bought by George Keck from Seattle on the 8th June, who raced it from Canada to So Cal, with most in the Pacific NW region. Keck’s first race was on the 24th June at Shelton where he finished first. He race 550-0070 until September 1957 and traded it with JP Kunstle in 1958 for 550A-0104. The spyder was shipped to the west coast and sold to Doug Sharman in 1960 and raced it at tracks like Pomona, Santa Barbara and Riverside.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0071
Chassis #550-0071 was delivered to the Hoffmann dealership in New York in October 1955 with engine # P90076. Factory records don’t indicate the final body or interior colours but it does say it was fitted with chrome wheels. The gearbox was originally built for one of the 1954 LeMans Werks spyders but was not used.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0072
Chassis #550-0072 was completed late October 1955 finished in silver with blue darts and fitted with engine # P90077. The spyder was exported to the US, but early race history is not determined, but around 1960, it is believed Ed Haussermann owned the spyder and raced it at Lawenceville Continental Divide and Meadowdale.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0073
Paul Sagan was a Porsche/VW dealer in Uniondale, New York and he purchased 550-0073 from Max Hoffman’s New York City dealership, to use the car to promote his dealership. Paul started at Thompson racing 550-0073 in June 1956 and as a skilled driver, he often finished first or second in each race. By the end of the ’56 season he had accumulated enough points to gain second place in the national FM standings behind legend Jack McAfee.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0074
Chassis #550-0074 was completed in November 1955, finished in silver paint and red interior and fitted with engine # P90079. There is no race history available for this spyder, but it is recorded at John Porter as the first owner.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0075
Chassis #550-0075 was completed in November 1955 and was exported to Guatemala arriving on 2nd February 1956. The spyder was silver with blue darts and a red interior. It was fitted with engine # P90081. Delivered to the local Porsche dealership, it was prepared for its first owner Hubert Wiesse who entered it on 10th May 1956 in the Guatemala-Barberena-Guatemala race finishing 1st in class. He raced the car throughout Mexico and El Salvador.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0076
Chassis #550-0076 was the first 550 to be completed in January 1956, which was a silver spyder with beige interior and engine # P90082. The spyder was purchased by brothers J and Pierre Houdusse from France. The first listed race entered was the 1957 Mille Miglia race in May with Hartmuth Oesterle and Siegfried Gunther as drivers, but did not finish the race. As it was a two day race from 11th to the 12th, it is not confirmed if 550-0076 raced as Pierre entered the Spa-Francorchamps GP in Belgium on the 12th May. Houdusse raced the spyder at Spa again in August finishing 8th and continued racing until April 1958 before he sold the spyder to Siegfried Gunther who raced it mainly in hill climbs but also entered it into the August 1958 Nurburgring GP finishing 13th.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0077
Chassis #550-0077 was completed in January 1956 and finished in silver with blue darts, blue interior and engine # P90084. Porsche displayed the spyder at the Brussels Salon Auto Show in February before it went to its new owner Christian Goethals who raced it at the Spa-Francorchamps, GP Berlin in May finishing 3rd in class. The spyder was set up by the Werks team for racing with additional features as the high rail frame, 60mm brakes and an external oil tank filler. Goethals raced the spyder at Major endurance races throughout Germany and France.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0078
Chassis #550-0078 was completed on the 15th March 1956 and was kept by Porsche as a show car which appeared at the New York International Auto Show on April 28th. The spyder was white with blue darts along its rear fenders, black interior and fitted with engine # P90085. There is no race history known to be linked with this car.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0079
Chassis #550-0079 was completed on the 2nd February 1956 which was a red spyder with white darts, beige interior and fitted with engine # P90080. It was used for a promotional photo shoot outside the Porsche factory showing the range of colours the 550 spyders came in. Shortly after, the hood was painted white for its new Swiss owner Rita Rampinelli who was a pioneer in female motorsport. She first entered the spyder in the June 1956 Saint-Ursanne-Les Rangiers race.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0080
Chassis #550-0080 was completed on the 3rd April 1956 and according to factory records, it was painted green with a white hood, white darts and fitted with engine # P90086. The spyder was sent to the Portuguese Porsche dealer who sold it to a local racer Ruy Marinho de Lemos. On 23rd April he entered the spyder into the Spanish GP where he finished 2nd. He raced at a number of Portuguese events like the Monsanto GP and Vila Real Pista International. In 1957 the spyder was painted red with a white bonnet and was raced at Monsanto and Luanda (Angola), and entered into a number of rallies and minor events.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0081
Chassis #550-0081 was completed in April 1956 with silver paint, red darts and black interior, fitted with engine # P90090. The following month, it was entered into the 1000 km Nurburgring by new owner William Buff and co driver Gottfried Kochert. Buff was from the US and this was his first recorded race in any car, which unfortunately didn’t do well as he had to retire early. At some point the spyder was repainted white with two blue GT stripes down the middle and red darts on the rear fenders. Buff raced extensively throughout Europe plus Sweden and Denmark at many GP events with class wins at most of them. Late 1957, the spyder was exported to the US for Porsche mechanic Vasek Polak who raced at Paramount Ranch.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0082
Chassis #550-0082 was one of the last production builds of the 550 spyder with the high rail frame and engine number 90054, completed in March 1956. It was a custom color of yellow body paint with green darts and a black interior, ordered for the Ecurie Nationale Belge which was the National Belgium racing team. The first race was the La Roche Hill Climb in France on the 25th March 1956 with Gilberte Thirion behind the wheel finishing first overall. The car was raced extensively over the season.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0083
Chassis #550-0083 was completed on the 15th March 1956, painted white with blue darts, black interior and fitted with engine # P80087. Along with three other spyders, it was displayed outside the Porsche factory for a promotional photo. Race history of this spyder is incomplete as it was believed to be owned by Charles Wallace, but race photos of the time indicate the it was a 550A that he raced.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0084
Chassis #550-0084 was completed on 10th April 1956 in ready for the Mille Miglia. The silver spyder with blue darts and blue interior was fitted with engine # P90088. Delivered in Vienna in April 1955 to Gottfried Köchert. He entered the Mille Miglia in Italy a few weeks later. After running the car in prior to the start, the privately entered Spyder had about 3,200 km on the speedometer. He was allocated the starting number 432 (which indicated the start time of 4:32am in Brescia). Along the first leg to Rome Köchert’s Spyder was unbeatable: it was the fastest Porsche Spyder in the 1.5 litre sports car class and provided a distance duel with world racing legends like Behra and Villoresi. When he reached Florence, the motor failed as it had not been serviced or adjusted in the 4,500 km since new and he had to withdraw from the race. The engine #90 080 which was fitted to the car was replaced with the later 550A quad cam engine – #90 130.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0085
Chassis #550-0085 was completed on the 5th June 1956 with a silver body and engine #P90092. The race history of this car is unconfirmed, where owned by Bob Grossman, as the spyder is white in vintage photos.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0086
Chassis #550-0086 was completed on 14th June 1956 with a silver body and black interior, fitted with engine # P90091. There is little race history for this spyder, but it is believed to have been delivered to the US where it was purchased by Walter Turner, but photos of Turner’s car and race dates don’t match delivery details – more research to be done!
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0087
Chassis #550-0087 was one of the final production run customer spyders which was fitted with the modified high rail frame. It was completed in June 1956, finished in silver with red darts and black interior and fitted with engine # 90093. The new owner Joaquim Correia de Oliveira was an aspiring Portuguese race car driver and had recently sold his other spyder 550-0039, wanting one of the later 550s with larger brakes and the reinforced frame, so he ordered the 550 spyder direct from the Porsche factory.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0088
Chassis #550-0088 was the third last customer RS550 built on the 28th June 1956, finished in white paint, blue darts, black interior and fitted with engine # P90095. It was exported to the west coast of the US and purchased by Eldon Beagle whose first race was at Sacramento in September 1956. This was Beagle’s second 550 spyder as he had only recently sold his 550-0053. Beagle travelled down to Nassau for the speed week in December along with racing at other tracks like Laguna Seca, Stockton and Palm Springs up until December 1957. Beagle made some modifications to his spyder such as louvers in the side to help cool the engine and a distinctive high headrest to conceal the roll bar which had become a mandatory safety requirement for the 1957 season.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0089
The second last of the 550 production series, 550-0089 was specially built for John von Neumann with a number of factory modifications including a large oval chrome grill positioned at the rear plus two scoop vents on the top of the engine bay and louvered vents along the rear fenders to help cool the engine. The spyder had the reinforced ‘high frame’ designed chassis and was completed on the 28th June 1956 with engine # 90094. The car was painted silver with red darts. The spyder was exported to the west coast of the US and from October 1956 experienced team driver Richie Ginther raced 550-0089 with race number 211 at tracks including his first race at Pomona where he was involved in an accident and did not finish.
Porsche 550 Spyder Chassis #550-0090
Chassis #550-0090 was the last of the customer production 550 spyders built on 29th June 1956 with engine # 90096 and a high frame chassis. It was finished in silver with blue darts and beige interior and destined for the west coast of the US. The spyder did not see any track time and was delivered equipped for street use to its first owner Willett H. Brown, President of CBS. With only 634 miles on the clock, he sold the car. After a short time, Porsche dealer Vasek Polak was given the task to then sell the car for the new owner with still a low 12,000 miles added and was bought by Fred Sebald who managed a race car repair shop in Glendale, California and had always aspired to own a 550 spyder. The spyder went into storage throughout the 1960s and remained in its original condition from new.