Bonhams has announced the consignment of one of the world’s most iconic sports-racing cars for its January 18, 2018 auction in Scottsdale, Arizona — the former 24 Hours of Le Mans and Nürburgring 1000 Kilometer podium-placing 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder (above, Pawel Litwinski photo courtesy of Bonhams).
An automotive legend of design and performance, the instantly recognizable Porsche Spyder is in a class all its own. The first Spyder, the 550, is most associated in popular culture with James Dean who admired the car for its beauty, speed and nimbleness. The 550’s successor, the 550A, was substantially improved underneath. Powered by the original 1.5-liter, four-cam, flat-four engine, it employed a spaceframe chassis rather than the previous ladder-frame, and had trailing-arm suspension instead of swing axles, among other improvements. The enhanced weight reduction and superior stability allowed the 550A to compete successfully against the much bigger Ferraris and Aston Martins, earning it the nickname “The Giant Killer.”
This particular 550A, chassis number 0145, is one of just 40 ever created, and boasts a pedigree that distinguishes it from all others. It was a Porsche Works entrant, a veteran of four World Championship races, and is believed to be the only 550A to compete in a Grand Prix. Its competition history lists a 2nd in class and 5th overall finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as class wins at the Nürburgring 1000 Kilometers, the 12 Hours of Reims, the Zandvoort NAV Race and the Dutch Grand Prix.