From the day each 550 Spyder rolled out of the Porsche factory destined for a new customer, it took its own DNA with it. Over the years, these machines have changed many hands, but few remain in the same condition of when they left the factory. Modifications were made to make it lighter, faster, better cooling and better braking during their race days. Later on it was personal aesthetics such as simple body colour change or a speedster windscreen fitted.
Today we see cars striped back to off the frame, bare metal restorations with hundreds of hours in research just to find the original factory colour or factory accessories and finishes. As every Spyder body was hand beaten, owners search for unmolestered originals that haven’t raced or been repaired just to get it back on the track for the next race. The cars are now being laser scanned within a tenth of a millimetre to ensure it is truly correct in every aspect when restored. Thousands of photos are taken to guarantee every part is original and positioned correctly right down to each nut and bolt. Many restorers face the frustration of inaccurate records about their cars. The historical archives nestled within the breathtaking Porsche museum in Stuttgart have many gaps and as most photos on file are black and white, identifying body colours are even a challenge. There is also no official list on record identifying the colour combinations for each of the 90 Spyders.
One thing the Germans did well in the day of the Spyder, was detailed spec drawings from wiring looms down the the shape of a jack point. Many of these drawings surface from restorers who have gone through the tedious process of a build. On average a 550 restoration takes at least a year, but often many more to do it properly. It is sometimes easier to start with the chassis, shape an accurate buck and build the body from scratch, than try to fix the original panels.
This section will showcase a number of builds and also a pictorial reference guide for 550 restorers.