The hunchback of Stuttgart
In 1953, the newest of the successful type 550s appeared – the so called hunchback car, referred to in German as the ‘Buckelwagen’ which was widely exhibited starting with the 1954 Brussel’s Salon. It was chassis number 550-07, with a wide rear deck head-faring behind the two comfortable seats, which gave it its nickname.
It was originally built as a factory mule and endurance race practice car and was the first body built by Wendler for Porsche. The racing prototype was used by factory drivers Hans Herrmann and Richard von Frankenberg as a demonstration car to assess potential Swiss driving school students to join the Werks’ factory team.
Designed with a full glass framed windscreen and tapering wind deflectors above the doors, with rigorous testing, it was proven to be more aerodynamic than previous designs. Other unique racing style features was the knock-off wheels and the option of a removable hard roof, but most importantly, the introduction of the split body which allowed easy access to the engine instead of through access plates found on the previous models. The four camshaft type 547 engine produced 110bhp at 7000 rpm, which gave the car a max speed of 225km/h (140mph). After running in the Tour of Sicily, it was put on display at Porsche dealerships across Germany and Austria to entice buyers to own a race winning Porsche 550.