Going back in time, there are a few key words to help find a plausible answer: pioneering, inventive, ingenious, family, continuity. One of the first cars to be equipped with four electric motors, one for each wheel, with which a young Ferdinand Porsche entered a race on 23 September 1900, where he had no rivals. The same car was later to be equipped with a hybrid solution, internal combustion engine and electric motor. Pioneering in racing and ingenuity in technology. More than a century later, if we think of the pressure from public opinion for ever less polluting car production, to which the industry has responded with electric motors, it can be said that nothing new has been invented. Porsche had already thought of that. Inventiveness. After the war, the baton was passed on to his son Ferry, who in fact gave life to Porsche as a sports car manufacturer, writing entire pages of motorsport history from the 1950s to the present day. A family always at the forefront and with continuity of results; just think of the class and overall victories in the 24h of Le Mans. All this is tradition, it is legend. Together they generate passion, and for a car, passion, or the emotional drive, continues to be the engine of desire, first, and then, of choice.
Although it wasn’t the first, the Porsche 550 is the car that made the Porsche name an international automotive brand. It was the first to bear the coat of arms of the state of Württemberg and the city of Stuttgart, a prancing horse, on its bonnet. If, however, you want to give a physical dimension to passion, here are some criteria.
Rarity and originality are some of the drivers that make people opt for a classic car; more subjectively, this is also the case for beauty, for aesthetics. But what makes a car unique? What distinguishes it from others in its range? Certainly, its history, be it sporting or otherwise, maybe its styling content, or its contribution to technological progress. And that’s where the 550 RS, which stands for Renn Sport (Race Sport in German), chassis number 0047, stands out from the rest. Porsche built 90 of them, but only a fraction of that number were official Porsche KG competition cars. To be exact, only three were produced in 1955, and it is one of these three cars that is being discussed here.
Equipped with the mid-rear-mounted, 1.5-litre Fuhrmann 547 engine, number 90051, prepared in the Porsche racing department, this 550 RS made its debut at the 1955 24-Hour Le Mans race, a hard-fought event but marred by the serious accident of Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes 300 SLR, which crashed into the crowd and cost the lives of around 80 people. The accident was so serious that Alfred Neubauer withdrew the team from the race and Mercedes withdrew from racing for many years afterwards. As history records, the race was not interrupted and overall victory went to Mike Hawthorn’s Jaguar D-Type. This 550 RS finished sixth overall and third in its class with drivers Helmut Glöckler-Jaroslav Juhan, but this was only the beginning of its sporting adventure.