The 550 Spyder has always been included in the all time top ten most desired cars. For me, over 25 years ago when I saw my first Spyder in the flesh, I knew one day I would have to own one. The chances of possessing one of the original 90 cars built was pretty slim, but as the legend lives on in some beautifully hand crafted replicas, it became obtainable.
The design is one of perfection and beauty, from its purpose built race design simplicity to the aerodynamic designed aluminum body. It is such a small car with such a big presence and proved itself as a threat to even the V8s that dominated the world circuits of the fifties.
You need to be a master of origami to fold yourself to fit in the cockpit, and your head sits above the small plexiglass wind deflector which gets a blast of whatever the weather can dish up, but they are the traits of the car you forgive and accept. The original type 547 quad cam engine was extremely temperamental requiring hours for a skilled mechanic to tune it and create the distinctive exhaust note the Spyders and renowned for.
The design of the 550 Spyder was always going to be an evolution and with each being built by hand, no two Spyders were identical. Each possessed unique body modifications originating from the race days to survive grueling races like the 24 hour LeMans or the banked track of Avus. The original owner’s manual displayed a stock Spyder direct from the showroom. Very few owners fought the temptation not to race and keep them as original showroom cars, but today following their rarity and growing value, more and more are being restored back to better than the day they were bought.
Over the years I have collected a number of original blueprints of the Porsche 550, mainly 550-03, from the dimensions and the tubular chassis right down to the jack points and wiring harness, each designed with German precision. Together with modern day 3D scans of an original 550 body, there is enough information to build a very accurate replica of an original.
For those considering to buy a replica 550, here is a great tool which can help you see how your Spyder could look – custom your Spyder