Auto Motor und Sport - Porsche 550 RS Spyder
The 1998 debut and smashing success of the Porsche Boxster has drawn recent attention to its fore-father, the 550 RS Spyder. The 550 has found an immortal lore worldwide. It was the American auto importer Johnny Von Neuman who had an integral role in the commercial success of the Spyder. Credited with the moniker "Spyder", Johnny helped orchestrate James Dean's purchase of this "Little Bastard" for $25000 DM. The 550's racing success has been a major, if not the major, contributing factor to Porsche's commercial success. The 90 car run had swept the global competition in its class with a mere 100 horsepower. From the LeMans in 1953 to 1955, the Porsche Spyder was a force to be felt on the track. In 1956 an "improved" 550A Coupe won its class, placing 5th overall. In the 1955 LeMans, the Porsche 550 gave a win, place, show performance in the 1.5 liter and a 1st - 2nd in the 1.1 liter classes. Beyond a 4th place overall finish, the Spyder was awarded The Index of Performance for the car with best combined speed and economy in the entire race field.