Wednesday, August 26, 2009

When Porsche Got It Right

The Porsche 550 and 718 Spyders were one of those lines of cars that somehow came together just right. Small, light and nimble, the original 550 defined "sports car" for a whole new generation, even without aspiring actors killing themselves in one and propelling it to cult status. Originally conceived as a racing car but with tremendous showroom success too, the 550 won the Targa Floria in 1956 and its successors - one of which, a 718/2 RSK is shown above - went on to collect even more race wins before this basic outline was replaced in the early 60s with the 904 (which looks remakably like a Ferrari Dino) closed coupe design that was only available on the road in limited numbers to meet homologation rules.

Interestingly, it's said that a German F1 driver drove a 550 straight under a railway crossing barrier in the 1954 Mille Miglia. Given that the above version is no higher than a small picket fence, I can quite believe it!

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