The 1955 Porsche 550/1500 RS, better known as the 550 Spyder, was the first purpose-built race car by Porsche. The little car from Stuttgart dominated the 1.5L class and even threatened the larger engines for outright victory, especially on twisty roads such as the Nurburgring and Targa Florio, quickly earning the nickname Giant Killer.
This model represents serial number 0016 thru 0044 as they left the factory as the first commercial units for privateers in 1955. The 550 features responsive steering, lightweight materials, short braking distance and virtually no body roll thanks its low center of gravity and suspension design. However, it is also renown for its pronounced oversteer tendency, which can be a handful to tame on natural rubber bias-ply tires.
The 550 successes rapidly established Porsche as prestigious racing marque. The roots of Porsche’s racing division victories thru the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s can be traced back to this car design. The 550 innovative mid-engine layout, the gutsy 547 Carrera engine, its agility and reliability would evolve into a formidable lineage with offsprings such as the 718, 906, 910, 917 and 956.