The 550 Spyder is one of the most significant Porsche models of all time. Upon its debut, the car not only represented an ultra-cutting-edge machine from a mechanical and technological standpoint but was also extremely successful in motorsport competition, securing a 1-2-3 finish in its class at the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans. Produced from 1953 through ’56, only 90 550 Spyder specimens would ever leave the factory, making it one of the rarest vintage Porsches of all time — as well as making this absolutely immaculate 1955 example that’s now headed to auction an incredibly noteworthy find.
Known as “Spyder 0036,” this ’55 specimen was purchased new by German race car driver, Le Mans entrant, three-time World Championship Grands Prix competitor, and the 1953 German Formula Two Champion, Theo Helfrich, who extensively competed in the Porsche in a slew of high-profile German and European motorsport events, including races at the Nürburgring and Hockenheim. In 1959, a Germany-based American soldier would purchase the Spyder from Helfrich, two years before bringing the Porsche home with him.
The ex-military man then proceeded to campaign the car in a host of SCCA and sports car events up through the mid-’60s. In 1972, the Porsche would trade hands for the last time, being purchased by a collector that has retained the car ever since. Over the current owner’s half-century-long tutelage, he treated the 550 Spyder to a wildly involved, factory-correct. half-decade-long, nut and bolt restoration courtesy of Lake Park, Florida’s Willison Werkstatt. The meticulous, period-correct refresh included the reception of a Type 547 engine that is only one digit off from the original mill’s engine number. Still equipped with the car’s original gearbox (No. 10027), the air-cooled 1.5L roller-bearing-equipped quad-cam flat-four was also rebuilt from the ground up by legendary four-cam engine specialist Billy Doyle. Since its completion, this stunning specimen has only seen 100 miles added to its odo, too.
This 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder (Chassis No. 550-0036) is slated to go under the hammer at Bonhams’ forthcoming Amelia Island Auction on Thursday, March 3rd at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Bonhams has yet to reveal a valuation for the ’55 550, though previous specimens have fetched as much as $6.2M at auction in the past.