RM Sotheby’s Paris: 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder by Wendler to be auctioned on Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Schermata 2016-01-25 alle 16.26.35Lot: 143

Car: 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder by Wendler Chassis no. 550-0068

Estimate: €2.200.000 – €2.600.000

The date: to be auctioned on Wednesday, February 3, 2016

110 bhp, 1,488 cc DOHC air-cooled horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with dual Weber downdraft carburettors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front and rear suspension, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,100 mm

  • The 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show car
  • One of just 75 factory-built ‘customer’ 550 Spyders
  • Period US racing history with Mike Marshall, including 1956 Sebring 12 Hours
  • Freshly serviced by renowned Porsche specialist Prill Porsche Classics
  • Highly eligible for vintage tours and rallies, including the Mille Miglia, Tour Auto, Le Mans Classic, Goodwood Revival, Monterey Historics, and Monaco Historic Grand Prix!

“Design is not simply art, it is elegance of function” – Ferdinand Porsche


The 550 Spyder put Porsche firmly on the map as a serious competitor on the world’s racing tracks; indeed, the diminutive mid-engined roadster generated the nickname ‘Giant Killer’ for its ability to defeat much more powerful rivals. Introduced at the 1953 Paris Auto Show, the 550 and its second iteration, the 550A, remained in production through February of 1959, and a total of 130 chassis were constructed before the 718 RSK Spyders appeared. A large proportion of 550 production was destined for the United States.

Built on a frame of seamless mild steel tubing, the 550 utilised a front suspension of double trailing arms and transverse-leaf torsion bars. After the first few examples, the rear suspension was redesigned from leading control arms to trailing arms with swing axles and tubular transverse torsion bars. Porsche’s engineers had planned an all-new engine to power the Spyder at the gruelling Carrera Panamericana, but early testing determined that Dr Ernst Fuhrmann’s Type 547 advanced 1.5-litre air-cooled four-cylinder Boxer engine was not quite ready. Thus, the first few chassis were fitted with conventional pushrod Porsche engines. Soon, however, reliability was ensured and the new ‘Four-Cam’ would be installed in all the 550s, 550As, RSKs, 356 Carreras, and 904s that were to follow.

This marvellous but complex engine, called the ‘Drawer motor’ because its engineering drawings were quickly hidden in Fuhrmann’s desk whenever Dr Porsche walked into his office, was an all-alloy unit displacing 1,498 cubic centimetres. Its camshafts were driven off the Hirth-patent built-up roller-bearing crankshaft by a series of shafts and crown wheels. Cam timing took dozens of man-hours to properly establish, but once all the clearances were correctly set, the high-revving motor was very reliable. It featured dry-sump lubrication and two spark plugs per cylinder. With compression of 9.5:1 and breathing through a pair of Weber downdraft carburettors, this engine produced a strong 110 brake horsepower. In a chassis that weighed barely 590 kilograms, 550s were capable of top speeds approaching 210 km/h (140 mph), dependent on gearing. Because these little roadsters were ostensibly required to be street driven, they were fitted with a token canvas tonneau that met the letter of the rulebook but were otherwise better left folded away in the garage.


This beautiful 550 Spyder left the factory at Zuffenhausen on 19 September 1955, to be eventually delivered to an American customer, but first, there would be an intermediate stop: Porsche’s stand at the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show. There, it shared the company’s display with a 356 Speedster, a coupé, and a cabriolet. Chassis number 550-0068 was shown in semi-racing form; that is, there was a small racing windscreen to protect the driver and an alloy half tonneau covering the passenger side of the cockpit. Suggesting, perhaps, that this was a dual-purpose sports car, it was also fitted with moon hubcaps, which were standard fitment to cars delivered in street trim. Adding to the sporting impression that Porsche wanted to convey, the rear fenders were topped with painted ‘darts’, or flashes. Today 0068 has been restored to its original silver paint with light blue darts, a very attractive combination.

The factory build sheet specifies that 0068 was to be shipped to ‘1 kunde/customer USA’ following the Frankfurt show. That customer was a gentleman named Mike Marshall, a Porsche/Volkswagen dealer and amateur racer of Miami, Florida. Mr Marshall wasted no time in putting his new 550 to the task for which it was intended. Just two months after the car starred on Porsche’s display at Frankfurt, Marshall gave the new Spyder a victory in its first outing, an SCCA race at Waterboro, South Carolina. Next up was December Speed Week at Nassau in the Bahamas, where Marshall finished 6th in the preliminaries, dropped out of both the Governor’s Cup and All-Porsche contests, but came back to score a respectable 4th place in the Under-Two-Litre Production race. In February 1956, Marshall won a pair of SCCA Regional races at Punta Gorda, Florida; a 1st and 2nd at Waterboro; and then, sharing the wheel with Porsche’s racing chief and occasional driver Huschke von Hanstein, managed a creditable 14th overall and 3rd in class at the Sebring 12 Hours. Von Hanstein was quite familiar with 0068; he had posed with it at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Through the remainder of 1956 and early 1957, Marshall ran numerous other amateur races including Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin; Montgomery, Alabama; Chester, Carolina; Gainesville, Florida; the 1956 Nassau Speed Week; and then a race weekend at the very difficult 2.4-mile circuit at New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Unfortunately, in a preliminary event, Marshall had an off, side-lining the Spyder for the weekend. Fifteen months later, 0068 was sold to Joe Sheppard, a very talented amateur who’d picked up the nickname ‘The Tampa Hotshoe’ and who drove the car at Chester and Gainesville. The car’s racing history then lists Sheppard’s friend Duncan Forlong, who borrowed the car for two races at Dunnellon Park, Florida.

It is believed that 0068 then remained in Florida. When recently quizzed about the car, Joe Sheppard could not recall exactly when it was sold; it was a deal put together by his father. The new owner is believed to have been Bob Ross, who made a regular appearance at the Sebring track with racing friends in his new Spyder. In the mid- to late-1980s, the Porsche was bought by Lynn Larson, who almost immediately sold it on to his friend Phil Bagley, who then sold the car to its new owner who shipped it to Italy.

The car was inspected on 12 November 1989, by a Mr Parigi, prior to issuance of FIVA license number 0120620 by the Automotoclub Storico Italiano. That registration process was not completed until 21 April 1997. Italian registration number BG-B67015 was assigned 28 August 1997 in the name of Pierluigi Bartoli of Riva di Solto, who had acquired the car in July of 1993, per the Estratto Chronologico, copies of which are included in the car’s history file. In 1999, the current owner, an Italian businessman and enthusiast, purchased this historic racer.

Today, 550-0068 is offered having been maintained regardless of cost and ready to be used in any of the many events for which it is eligible, including the Mille Miglia, Tour Auto, Le Mans Classic, Goodwood Revival, Monterey Classics, and Monaco Historic Grand Prix, amongst others.

Simply put, no comprehensive collection of vintage Porsches is complete without a 550 Spyder, and this example would surely be one of the most enjoyable.

Info on Sotheby’s

Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione. Bonhams, Scottsdale January 2015. Save the date…

Bonhams è lieta di annunciare la consegna di una Ferrari davvero speciale per la sua asta di Scottsdale, in Arizona il prossimo gennaio. Si tratta di una Ferrari 275 Berlinetta Gran Turismo Competizione Scaglietti del 1966 vincitrice a Le Mans, Spa-Francorchamps e Imola con la Scuderia Filipinetti. L’undicesima di appena dodici vetture costruite.

Ha partecipato per tre volte alla leggendaria Le Mans, nel 1967, 1968 e nel 1969. Nel 1969, ha corso a Spa-Francorchamps e poi è andata a vincere a Imola. Lanciata nel 1966, questa Ferrari era progettata espressamente per la competizione ed è stata costruita intorno ad un telaio completamente nuovo, specifico per questo modello. Telaio e scocca più leggeri ne hanno fatto un purosangue da gara. Il propulsore, anch’esso ridisegnato, da 3.3 litri, V12 è stato posizionato strategicamente più in basso e più indietro fornendo ancora più performance nel bilanciamento dei pesi. Parlando di estetica, il suo muso lungo e le feritoie laterali da squalo ne hanno sempre esaltato il fascino e l’hanno resa accattivante tanto in pista che su strada.

Ceduta da Filipinetti, è appartenuta a diverse collezioni americane durante gli anni ’70 e ’80. Poi, nel 1985, la carrozzeria è stata danneggiata da un incendio ma il motore, la trasmissione e il telaio non hanno riportato conseguenze. La vettura è stata spedita in Italia, dove la sua carrozzeria è stata meticolosamente restaurata da esperti rispettando le specifiche di fabbrica, dopodiché ha ricevuto la certificazione “Ferrari Classiche”.

Da allora, questa straordinaria auto ha anche vinto diversi riconoscimenti in mostre e ed eventi, tra cui il prestigioso Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Ha partecipato inoltre a Le Mans Classic, Silverstone Classic e Tour Auto, solo per citarne alcuni. Recentemente, è stata una delle sole sessanta Ferrari selezionate in tutto il mondo a celebrare il 60° anniversario della Ferrari a Beverly Hills. Autentico e bellissimo cavallo di razza, questa Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione rappresenta una rara opportunità per collezionisti interessati.

La Bonhams Scottsdale Auction 2015 si svolgerà il 15 gennaio presso il Westin Kierland Resort & Spa di Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Ferrari Classiche red book certified, three times Le Mans entrant, Spa-Francorchamps winner, Imola winner and concours award recipient joins impressive early consignments for January’s sale

Bonhams is delighted to announce the consignment of a very special and historic competition Ferrari to its auction in Scottsdale, Arizona next January.

From the most famous and respected name in sports and racing is the 1966 Ferrari 275 Gran Turismo Berlinetta Competizione Scaglietti – class winner of the 1967 Le Mans 24 Hours, 1969 Spa-Francorchamps 1000 Km and 1969 Imola 500 Km under Scuderia Filipinetti.

From the day it was delivered new to legendary race team owner Georges Filipinetti of Geneva, Switzerland, this automobile – chassis number 09079 – has had an exceptional and well-documented history. The eleventh of just twelve built – and one of the most prominent and successful of those twelve, this rare, matching numbers, Ferrari Classiche-certified car went on to do what its makers intended: race.

Competing three times consecutively in the most prestigious race of them all, Le Mans, in 1967, 1968 and 1969, it won the GT class its first year with Filipinetti team drivers Rico Steinmann and Dieter Spörry. Then in 1969, the first and only time it raced Spa-Francorchamps, it won that GT class with Filipinetti team drivers Jacques Rey and Edgar Berney, and then went on to win its class at Imola. In the right hands, number 09079 was a force to be reckoned with.

Launched in 1966, this new GT-class Ferrari designed expressly for competition was built around a completely new chassis specific to this model. It was lighter and stronger than the chassis of the standard 275, was fitted with reinforced wheel hubs and wider than standard wheels, and given twin saddle-mounted alloy fuel tanks with quick-access exterior fuel and oil filler caps. Additionally, it was wrapped in an ultra-thin alloy body thereby reducing weight even further.

The powerplant was also new, with a Tipo 213 Competition motor developed from the Ferrari factory team racer campaigned the previous year. The new 3.3-litre, V12 engine with fully dry sump benefited from a long list of uprated factory modifications. And the strategic placement of this awesome engine – lower and farther back – provided even more advantage with its nearly perfect weight distribution.

Not only were the physical properties of this car extremely impressive but the aesthetics also wowed the world. Its long, shark-like nose with gill-like side vents and low, wide stance made it appear both rakishly handsome and predatory at once. And its practicality, too, made it enormously attractive as it could be ferociously raced on the track or sportingly driven to the country club.

After its tenure with Filipinetti, car 09079 found a home with several respected American collections during the 1970s and 80s. Then in 1985 its body was damaged in a garage fire but the engine, drive train and chassis were all unharmed. The car was shipped to Italy where its bodywork was meticulously and accurately restored to factory specifications by marque experts Carrozzeria Brandoli, after which it received its red book certification from Ferrari Classiche confirming its matching numbers engine, chassis, suspension and transaxle.

Since then, this stunning champion has also won several honours at contemporary shows and events, including the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and has participated in Le Mans Classic, Silverstone Classic and Tour Auto, to name a few. Recently, it was one of just 60 Ferraris selected worldwide to represent the 60th anniversary of Ferrari in Beverly Hills.

Authentic, pedigreed, historic and gorgeous, the highly useable 09079 is truly a car of international importance and represents a rare opportunity for interested buyers. To see and hear this incredible machine in motion, watch the video online at Bonhams.com/video/17789.

The 2015 Bonhams Scottsdale Auction will take place Thursday, January 15th at the luxurious Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in the heart of Scottsdale.