RS550-0051 was completed at the end of May 1955, and took part in the 24 hour race at Le Mans on June 12 driven by Gustave Olivier, the well-known French racing driver. He finished with an overall ranking of fifth in 0051, and second in the class of 1500cc (winner was Richard von Frankenberg in 550-0046).
Porsche had a process of race testing the spyders at major tracks and then meticulously restoring them back to factory condition before delivery. Only then, Porsche would officially consign the car to the dealer, in this instance the Paris dealer, Sonauto. This spyder was actually destined to be owned by Gustave Olivier who already owned 550-0034 which he had purchased in April to use for training.
Soon after Le Mans, the car had been sold to the French racing driver Robert Dutoit who raced it in August 1955 at the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring, continuing his winning streak until the 1957 season. The spyder was made “road legal” fitted with a bigger windscreen and wipers, plus an additional spare tyre fixed to the rear of the car. It is believed that Dutoit later sold the car onto a racing driver school named “Ecole Pilotage Montlhérry’.
Unfortunately there are many gaps on 550-0051’s hisory until the eighties when the car resurfaced again. At that time the famous german collector, Hubertus Graf Dönhoff, purchased the spyder. After Dönhoff, the spyder was then sold on to Hein Gericke (motorcycle clothing), who drove the car in historic motorsport events. Furthermore Gericke decided to respray the spyder to metallic silver in colour.
In 1993 the spyder was sold to its current owner who decided to give the spyder a light restoration under the direction of Mr. Dipl. Ing. Rolf Sprenger at the Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen. In 2003 the spyder was restored once again, this time by Torsten Walsdorff, now located in Neunkirchen am Brand, Germany. The restoration was a full bare metal, off the frame process to bring it back to its former glory including the original speedster-blue coloured body. Great precision, research and care was taken to ensure every detail was correct as if it was straight out of the factory back in 1955. The spyder has been reproduced as a 1:32 Revell slot car and also a 1:18 Schuco diecast model – great for anyone’s collection!