Porsche 550

Porsche 550 Spyder

The Porsche 550 or 1500 RS is a sports car of the Dr. -Ing. h c. F. Porsche KG, developed from the Porsche 356 as the immediate precursor of this car was considered the so-called Gloeckler - Porsche in 1500, a house construction of the Frankfurt VW dealer Walter Gloeckler or its operating conductor Hermann Ramelow, 1950 two models with mid-engine constructed and 1951 / 52 based on the Porsche 356 Roadster with a 1.5-liter rear engine (86 hp ) built. 1953 appeared the first Porsche 550 (type designation derived from the design number, sometimes also attributed to the self-weight of the car ), which were first produced both as closed as well as open version or Spyder.

Body and chassis

To keep the weight low, the Spyder ( Porsche used term for the Roadster ) as the 550 coupe was just a light-alloy body, the (head or flat frame) was associated with a two-dimensional frame tubes. The dashboard was designed as a load-bearing element. There were only two bucket seats for driver and front passenger. Without fuel the car weighed about 550 kg.

The model 550 A ( as of 1956 ) received a ( three-dimensional ) space frame instead of the flat frame. This frame was both lighter and stronger distortion proof. Many supporting body parts that were previously necessary as stiffeners could be eliminated.

The chassis of the Spyder consisted largely of parts of type 356: crank arm axle with transverse leaf spring bars ( bundled to square torsion bars ) and stabilizer front, rear swing axle with round rotating rods to longitudinal shear struts ( trailing arms ) out. Was slowed with drum brakes ( at 550 A front duplex brake Ø 280 mm Rear brake simplex ) of aluminum, in the an iron ring was pressed as a friction surface. (This kind of a race car delay was common until the Jaguar C-Type, the disk brake made ​​its way from the aircraft in motorsports. )

Engine and transmission

The type 550/550 A had a " Fuhrmann engine " (type 547) known air-cooled four - cylinder boxer engine with four camshafts ( two on each side ) that were driven by bevel, and double ignition with two separate ignition distributors and two ignition coils and two twin downdraft carburetors. In the first version of this 1.5 - liter engine, 81 kW (110 hp) at 7800 rpm made ​​, maximum torque 121 Nm at 5000 rpm.

The engine of the 550 is built as a mid-engine ahead of the rear axle. Through a balanced weight distribution, this design enables a largely neutral handling. The low mass moment of inertia about the vehicle's vertical axis on the other hand lead to a sudden, difficult to control rotation of the carriage. Porsche turned this design principle already in the Grand Prix cars of the Auto Union at the end of the 1930s on. The current Porsche Boxster and Cayman models are mid-engine designs.

The first 550 had a fully synchronized 4 -speed transmission. Starting in 1956, was driven with a 5 -speed transmission, the first gear only starting gear and (like the reverse gear ), however, was to insert a lock and not synchronized. Excessive slip on the drive wheels during cornering prevented a limited slip differential.


Use of the Porsche Spyder 550/550 A

The Porsche 550 was first built as a works car for sports car racing, and came into the 1954 season for the first time officially used. The bodies had the body works vineyard produced. In the Mille Miglia 1954 Hans Herrmann / Herbert Linge drove despite some problems to sixth place in the overall standings. (Except there was the 1.5 -liter engine, a 1.3 - liter version with 93 hp at 5000 rpm and 93 Nm at 4000 rpm, which started in Le Mans. )

From the end of 1954 just over a hundred built at Wendler in Reutlingen Porsche 550 were sold ( price: 24,600 DM). The vehicles were mainly in the USA, including the film actor James Dean, who died in an accident with the car.

Richard von Frankenberg 1955 with an uprated 550 ( 125 hp, 5 -speed transmission ) ³ total German masters of the racing class up to 1500 cc. 1956 was won by the Italian Umberto Maglioli on Porsche 550 A with a lead of almost 15 minutes, the Targa Florio, thus reaching the hitherto greatest success for Porsche in motorsport.

The Porsche 550/550 A was built from 1953 to 1957 and achieved in many races - even after the construction period - good to excellent placements. Although it had been designed as a racing car, it could be approved for use on public roads.

Further development of the 550 to 645

1956 Porsche developed the notional successor to the 550 under the name Porsche 645, which was also called Mickey Mouse because of its shortened dimensions. However, the car proved to be due to his driving behavior as unusable and was not pursued after an accident with Richard von Frankenberg at the Berlin AVUS in favor of the Porsche 718.