The Porsche 550 Spyder earned its reputation as a “giant killer” the hard way, by going out and winning races against much-bigger and more-powerful race cars, and with reliable consistency.
Though powered by a complex 4-cam 1,500cc boxer engine that produced just 110 horsepower, and weighing only 550 kilograms (about 1,200 pounds), the streamlined projectiles racked up an enviable number of wins in both short track and endurance races, including a strong showing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1955, with a 1-2-3 sweep in its class.
Bonhams will have a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder on the docket for its Amelia Island auction March 3 during the northeast Florida collector car celebration that culminates in the Amelia Concours d’Elegance.
Highly desired and much-replicated, the Porsche 550 has a pre-auction estimated value of $4.5 million to $5.5 million.
Bonhams calls the Porsche a “hidden treasure,” noting that it comes to auction for the first time after 50 years of close-held ownership, and the first time seen in public in about two decades.
“Like many German sports cars of the period, this 550 was acquired in 1959 by an American military man stationed in Germany, who brought it with him to the US two years later,” Bonhams says in the Porsche’s description. “The car raced in several SCCA and sports car events in the Upper Midwest, including Road America, until the mid-1960s.
“The Spyder then travelled to Florida where, in December 1972, it was acquired by its late owner, a passionate and avid life-long Porsche collector. During his careful 50-year ownership of the 550, a meticulously accurate and factory correct five-year restoration was performed by Willison Werkstatt of Lake Park, Florida.”
While the 550 is historically correct, it does have a replacement 4-cam engine that Bonhams says is “just a single digit from the original engine for the car.” The engine has been professionally rebuilt, and it apparently has little effect on the Porsche’s value.
“This highly authentic example of these spectacular, iconic Porsche sports racing cars is ready for its next chapter of custodianship and will be welcomed at the finest international Concours and driving events around the globe such as the Mille Miglia,” said Jakob Greisen, Bonhams vice president for US Motoring sales.
Bonham’s Florida auction will be held at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club on Amelia Island. For more information, visit the auction website.