On show in Monterey
August 20th, 2015
The season is hotting up on the west coast and the Spyders are slowly making an appearance. The 2015 Tour d’Elegance and the Werks Reunion in Monterey saw two very special Spyders on show, 550-0031 and 550-0073. Although very different looking Spyders, they do have a common link which is in the way they are prepared. As I have mentioned numerous times before, each 550 Spyder is unique and these two were modified for one purpose only – speed.
550-0031 was originally owned by Michael May, a pioneer of engineering in the 1950s, experimenting with downward forces to get more performance out of a race car. Although very unorthodox in the day, he fitted a bright orange wing above the cockpit of his 550 and entered it into the 1956 1000 km Nurburgring race. The results were very promising but he didn’t get past the practice session due to objections by the Porsche Werks team boss – you can read the full story here.
In the last week, the car was on display, now fully restored and complete with wing, showing how it tilts and works like when it was first installed in 1956.
550-0073 was originally owned by racer and Porsche dealer Paul Sagan. Sagan had a different approach to increasing speed, by drilling the body to make it lighter. I think it would have effected the structural integrity of the frame and wheels, but there was no reported incidents where Sagan did not finish due to mechanical issues. Again, the Spyder has been meticulously restored and on display for all to appreciate.
I hope both are on show at the upcoming Rennsport Reunion in a few weeks.