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An Ultra-Rare Le Mans Class-Winning Porsche 550A Prototype Is Headed To Auction

1956 Porsche 550A Prototype Le Mans Werks Coupe 0 Hero
Photos: Robin Adams Courtesy Of RM Sotheby’s

Despite only being founded in 1948, Porsche managed to rack up a slew of impressive high-profile race wins in its first decade of operation — a feat that clearly demonstrated the capabilities of the marque’s cars while also helping to put the brand on the map of the larger automotive world. While the vast majority of the firm’s early race-winning vehicles remain in the tutelage of Porsche’s factory museum, every once in a blue moon, one of Porsche’s early factory-built race cars come up for sale. And such is the case with this Porsche 550A Prototype Coupe racer, as this multi-event-winning specimen will soon be going under the hammer. 

1956 Porsche 550A Prototype Le Mans Werks Coupe 1
Photo: Robin Adams Courtesy Of RM Sotheby’s

Designed by Erwin Komenda and Wilhelm Hild under the guidance of Ferry Porsche, the Porsche 550/550A was a game-changing sports racing car that featured a slew of then-innovative traits that would quickly become the norm in high-level competition cars of the day. Upon the 550A’s competition debut, the the Porsche managed to secure a first place win — an event that would foreshadow the 550A’s multitude of future on-track successes, as it would eventually go on to achieve a variety of podiums and victories at a handful of world-class races including the Targa Florio, the Carrera Panamericana, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Daytona, and of course, the 24 Hours of Le Mans

1956 Porsche 550A Prototype Le Mans Werks Coupe 2
Photo: Robin Adams Courtesy Of RM Sotheby’s

The particular example seen here (Chassis #550A-0104), helped various drivers reach the top step of the podium at a myriad of highly-competitive high-level races. This exact specimen’s biggest claim to fame, however, is undoubtedly the fact that it achieved first place in its class (and 5th overall) at the 1956 running of the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans as an official Porsche Werks factory entry with drivers Richard von Frankenberg and Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips at the helm. After being retired from racing, chassis 0104 traded hands on numerous occasions before finally ending up in the possession of Julio Palmaz in 2004. One of the world’s foremost collectors of early Porsche competition prototypes, Palmaz would ultimately treat the factory Werks proto-Porsche to a spare-no-expense restoration, returning it to its original Le Mans-winning appearance and spec. 

1956 Porsche 550A Prototype Le Mans Werks Coupe 3
Photo: Robin Adams Courtesy Of RM Sotheby’s

This 1956 Porsche 550A Prototype ‘Le Mans’ Werks Coupe (Chassis #550A-0104) is slated to go under the hammer at RM Sotheby’s 2023 Monterey Sale starting August 17th where the Le Mans class-winner is expected to fetch between $5,500,000 and $7,500,000.