add
add
Menu

Porsche Spyder 550 the Giant Killer -1953 to 1956

The Porsche Spyder 550 for 1955 was soon to become known as the “giant killer”. The Spyder was first seen by the public at the Paris motor Show in 1953 with production starting shortly after. The car is built low to the ground for cornering, so low in fact, that a German Formula One racer drove his under a closed railway crossing gate during a race. A later version, the 550A, sporting a lighter, rigid space-frame chassis gave Porsche its first major win in 1956 at Targa Florio.

Porsche 550 Spyder circ 1953

© Dreamsnjb | Dreamstime.com – Spyders In The Garden Car Show In Arcadia, CA Photo

A successor of the Spyder is the Porsche 718 which also had great success on the sports car circuits in the’50’s and ‘60’s. Released in 1996,  the Porsche Boxster is a car that owes many design characteristics to the Spyder 550 and is considered to be a resurrection of the giant killer by some.

Porsche 550 Spyder Lil bastard

© Dreamsnjb | Dreamstime.com – Spyders In The Garden Car Show In Arcadia, CA Photo

“Rebel Without a Cause” star and 1950’s teenage heart throb, James Dean purchased one of the first 90 units, number 55 to be precise,  of the Spyder 550 built and his car is perhaps the most famous Porsche vehicle ever made. Jimmy Dean was a hero to the youth of the early to mid ‘50’s and well known to be a bit of a rebel-with no cause- to many. His “little bastard” 550 Porsche, with the number 130 the VIN 550-0055, and James Dean have both become the stuff legends are made of.

porsche 550 Spyder 1953

© Dreamsnjb | Dreamstime.com – Spyders In The Garden Car Show In Arcadia, CA Photo

The story goes something like this:

In September 1955 as James was finishing up his latest movie “Giant” he quietly decided to trade in his Porsche 356 on a new Spyder 550 with red leather bucket seats. The one he chose had red trunk stripes done by the factory in Stuttgart. James promptly took it his new roadster to Dean Jones paint shop and had a pin stripper paint the number “130” on the hood, trunk lid, and sides of his new car. Jimmy then had the painter script the words “Little Bastard” on the trunk lid. Jimmy  then took “little bastard” to sign up for a road race in Salinas on October 1st and 2nd 1955 –racing cars was something his movie contract said he could not do.

The reason he had the name scripted was in a showing of contempt directed towards his employers. A Warner Brothers Studio stunt driver, fellow race driver, and friend had nick named Jimmy “little bastard”, jokingly, because he was continuously was giving Warner Bros. a problem. The latest fiasco  is James had been living on studio grounds in a trailer he had used while filming months before and just never left it; he had been asked to vacate many times. The “Lil Bastard” moniker was picked up by management and it stuck. Jimmy left for Salinas on September 30, 1955 and on California route 46/41 at Cholame Junction was where  James Dean crashed his new 550 into a 1950 Ford Custom and Jimmy, a giant to some, never finished his movie “Giant”. He  died on the spot and the giant became a legend.

The 550 is powered by a 1498 CCM flat 4 cylinder mid-mounted engine producing 137 bhp and 129 Nm of torque at 6200 rpm. Equipped with the factory installed four speed standard transmission it will do 0-97 km/h (60 mph) in 8.2 seconds and the standing quarter mile in 16.1 seconds

The original Porsche 550 was available from the factory as a two door coupe and as the two door Spyder convertible. Of all the classic cars this particular design is one of the most common models to be reproduced. Some of these custom built cars are close to exact original specifications and in a variety of materials from fiberglass to aluminum.


One thought on “Porsche Spyder 550 the Giant Killer -1953 to 1956”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Most Recent Facebook Posts


2 days ago

Muscle Car Fan

The super sized 2 cycle 1 cylinder engine, not a muscle car but pretty cool ... See MoreSee Less

 

Comment on Facebook

That little area there at the fair was and always is my favorite. I miss the tractor shows they used to have in Memphis years ago at the Lions Club

stump pulling torque !

Oilfield stuff.

No it's not my club has much bigger one

Will someone please make this guy a proper sign board? The card board and marker looks like shit

Looks like an ajax

Raymond Francis

ive seen bigger on youtube a few times lol

Looks like an Ajax to me ☠️😍

+ View more comments

2 days ago

Muscle Car Fan

We stumble across a 1965 impala 4 speed built for speed with a 350 beautiful white car ... See MoreSee Less

 

Comment on Facebook

Beautiful car. I’d drive that obviously on nice Sundays. 👍👍

That was my first car loved it

classic got to love it!

Beautiful car

Very nice looking

Wow love it!

Nice car

Sweet

gorgeous

I'm in love with her😍

My first car in 1976

My first car was a '65 Chevy Impala Convertible. Loved that car.

Never heard of for speed

If it has a 350 in it it's not original!

One sweet looking impala

Very beautiful car.

Very nice car I wish they would've turn the engine on so we can hear it what's the point of just looking at it

Gorgeous JUST Gorgeous looking ride thanks for sharing

I had one a red one!

We once owned that model. Oh if only we still had it.

4 on the floor! Nice!!!

Very nice/Nice ride too! 😀👍

Nice car

Now that’s A good Looking Chevy 👀

Had a 65 convertible, 3 speed 327. My first new car. Got drafted 9 months later. Loved that car. Forest green, tan top, saddle interior.

+ View more comments

3 days ago

Muscle Car Fan

Almost perfect 1969 Firebird Convertible white interior for sale. I found this at a local Michigan restaurant ... See MoreSee Less

 

Comment on Facebook

Sweet. Beautiful ride.

Nice ride

Beautiful!

Beautiful

Nice!

SWEET

definitely wouldn't be sitting unattended that long sweet ride

I could drive this.

Better

I appreciate how he told the kids not to touch and even get there arms out. Finally someone showing respect for other people's property

My Brother in-law told me last night my car was spotted while my wife were having dinner lol if any serious folks would like to see it I will be at Ross mortgage in Royal Oak at the Woodward Dream cruise or call me Jim Ferns 586)214-3454

What a beautiful car are not like that no more

Nice

Did anyone check. The key may be in the ignition.

To 😎

Clean car

How much?

If i had the money id buy it in a heartbeat considering its original

Awesome car

One of the most beautiful cars on the face of this earth

yup common site to see in michigan will never complain about old school muscle cars

Looks clean and stock!😎

Smart Kid 😎👍❤️

Beautiful I just bought a 68 Camaro convertible. I love it

+ View more comments

3 days ago

Muscle Car Fan

Barn and field cars, 57 Olds Holiday Convertible, 61 StarFire,49 Cadillac, 53 Caddy..., ... See MoreSee Less

3 days ago

Muscle Car Fan

1964 Cadillac Convertible for parts at Franks ... See MoreSee Less

 

Comment on Facebook

if everything is in order why part out when it could be restored to its glory days

Load more