Jeff Pick / Hagerty.com
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: A rare Porsche 550 Spyder once owned and raced by a pioneering woman has been discovered after a long hibernation and is expected to sell for millions.
Just 15 months after 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder (#550-0069) was found in a shipping container in California. as well as later sold for approximately $4.5 million., 550 Spyder from 1956 (550-0079) was discovered in a barn in the Swiss countryside. Porsche, one of only 90 examples built between 1953 and 1956, will move across the block to Gooding & Company London auction in September. According to Gooding, the car’s original 1,200-pound aluminum body and four-cam boxer four-cylinder engine were replaced in the 1960s and, in an attempt to modernize the race car, were replaced with a Porsche RS60 alloy body and a new factory factory. .
The unrestored car’s preliminary estimate is between £1,250,000 and £1,750,000 (approximately $1.5–2.2 million). This is less than the original configuration 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder in condition #4 (fair), which is valued at $2.3 million. However, these iconic 1,200-pound aluminum-bodied 550 Spyders rarely go public, and if they do, they sell for a lot of money. In Pebble Beach four years ago ’55 changed hands for $4.5 million.
Many enthusiasts are familiar with the 550 as a Hollywood legend. James Dean was driving one (550-0055) when he was killed on a California highway in 1955, but cars are important for reasons far beyond that. These were purpose-built competition cars that raised Porsche’s status in motorsport in the 1950s.
“The 550 Spyder was the car with which Porsche redoubled its racing efforts,” says Andrew Newton, senior auction editor at Hagerty. “Dozens of race wins around the world cemented Porsche’s early reputation for producing giant killers that could dominate the small car category and sometimes compete in overall victories with much larger, more powerful cars.”
According to type550.com, 550-0079 was completed on February 2, 1956, painted red with white darts, has a beige interior and engine #P90080. It was used for a promotional photo shoot outside the Porsche factory showing the range of available colors. Shortly thereafter, the car’s hood was painted white in honor of its new Swiss owner, Rita Rampinelli, a pioneer of women’s motorsport.
Rampinelli raced Saint-Ursanne-les-Rangiers for the first time in June 1956. She raced the car until September 1956 when she sold it to Swiss racing driver Heinz Schiller, who drove it at Avus, Monza in Italy, and to a number of Swiss events. Eduard Margayraz bought a Porsche in mid-1958 and raced several hills in Switzerland.
Documents accompanying chassis 550-0079 suggest that the car eventually passed through the hands of famed Swiss Grand Prix winner and former Formula One ace Jo Siffert and later came into the possession of Herbert Cooke, who sold it to the shipper’s family in July 1982. . its current ownership has since belonged to a well-known collection in the UK.
A real find in the barn, Gooding says, this 550 Spyder has largely stayed out of the public eye and hasn’t seen the light of day for nearly 35 years, except for two performances in the 1980s at the Oldtimer Grand Prix and the historic Zolder race. .
“Chassis 550-0079 has a good but not exceptional history and has had some more recent upgrades, but it’s the real deal,” Newton says. “It shows that despite all the publicity that surrounds these kinds of big-money barn finds, there are still million-dollar cars lurking behind closed doors, waiting to be discovered.”
This is a story we never get tired of listening to.
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