Spyders by numbers

One of the great challenges for me is to track down all the original 550 Spyders, which is a mean feat in itself considering a number don’t exist anymore! The majority of them are in private collections of very private individuals and rarely do they see the light of day. There are some that have been destroyed during their early track day spills while others are still raced at historic events worldwide.

I love the process to put the puzzle together of current owners, past owners, racing history and the personality of each individual handmade car. I have limited each Spyder to four images which hopefully gives a good indication of the car in its original or restored state.

The Porsche 550 has been associated with many famous people but most relate the Spyder to the death of James Dean on 30 September 1955, when his Spyder – ‘Little Bastard’, 550-0055 collided with Donald Turnupseed on the way to a race in Salinas. Other famous celebrities include Jerry Seinfeld, who with an extensive Porsche collection including two type 550 cars – 550-0060 and the recently restored 550-03 plus Ralph Lauren with 550-0061 on permanent display at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

There are many notable successful businessmen who also have private collections which are sometimes accessible to the public like Indian entrepreneur Vijay Mallya with 550-0090 and Australian trucking tycoon Lindsay Fox who has 550-0056 amongst his collection. State of Art clothing founder Albert Westerman also owns three spyders – IMG_0440 (2) copy550-0045, 550-0089 and  550-0076. He actively drives both in historic races such as the Mille Miglia and other tracks throughout Europe. There are still over five original Spyders that are competitively raced today and many appear in historic events. The Porsche Museum in Stuttgart is home to the Fletcher Spyder 550-04 and 550-0064 on display, which occasionally gets air freighted internationally on tour during special events.

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