Using the Porsche 356 as a base, the 550 Spyder is a lightweight sports car built for motorsport racing, which would later be further developed into the Porsche 718.
Known as the “Giant Killer,” the 550 was Porsche’s first foray into building cars specifically designed for racing. Actor James Dean bought and intended to race his 550 at Salinas in the fall of 1955 but died in a car accident shortly after completing filming of the movie “Giant”. The 550 with a Type 547 1.5-liter, flat-four, air-cooled engine produced a little more than 100 horsepower. One of the biggest steps forward was the space-frame tubular chassis which made it immensely lighter than its racing competition, as well as rigid and stable. This car set in motion Porsche’s racing prominence and helped build a reputation that sparked global sales. The 550 is nimble, agile, well-balanced, and quick even bone stock. It generates a feeling of confidence and glory when being pushed through corners. Even when pitted against heavier, larger displacement cars, you will find that bigger is not always better.