Utilizing the identical flat-4 engine that underpins each the Porsche 356 and the VW Beetle, the 550 ups the ability output from as little as 25 horsepower within the Beetle to as a lot as 117 horsepower within the 550, in accordance with official Porsche specs. Including 4 overhead cams with twin downdraft Solex carburetors made the light-weight 550 a real tour de drive. The 550 contains a tubular chassis wrapped in hand-built aluminum physique panels to create a automobile that zips across the observe with spectacular pace. Whereas the 117 horsepower could not sound like a lot in at this time’s world, within the Nineteen Fifties and in such a light-weight automobile, it was a land-based rocket.
The mix of light-weight elements and highly effective engine managed to present Porsche a number of wins with the automobile. Porsche additionally determined to supply the 550 to the general public, with one of the vital tragic tales surrounding the automobile owned by actor James Dean. Sadly, in 1955, the actor was concerned in a deadly crash in his 550, reducing brief his rise to stardom, per the Historical past Channel. He had solely launched one movie on the time, however two extra launched posthumously ended up being field workplace hits.
The 550 stays one of the vital recognizable shapes in racing historical past. Over simply three years, Porsche made 90 vehicles. Whereas a lot of them stay, good examples promote for nicely over $4 million at public sale, in accordance with ClassicCars.