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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Unique Porsche 550 Buckelwagen and Coupé

Legendary ONES Speed, the world of race, and Porsche are like a straight line. Yes, since the first time the company was founded in 1931 in Stuttgart, Germany by Ferdinand Porsche, it has always been close to the speed and the world of race. And one of the famous cars ever made by the German manufacturer is the Porsche 550.
1953 Porsche 550 Coupé (chassis number #550-01) was painted with the race car’s livery along with #154 like when it is raced in the 1953 Carrera Panamericana. (Picture from: Pinterest)
It is a racing sports car manufactured by Porsche ranging from 1953 to 1956. At that time only 90 Porsche 550s were produced, but it quickly dominated the world of racing in the 1.1 and 1.5-liter classes. Truely, the Porsche 550 is a mid-engine car with an air-cooled four-cylinder engine, whose design follows the 1948 Porsche 356/1 prototype designed by Ferry Porsche with its aluminum body made by Erwin Komenda.
Ferry Porsche's sons. Hans-Peter (b-1940), Ferdinand Alexander (b-1935), Gerhard (b-1938), and Wolfgang (b-1943) were posed on 1953 Porsche 550 'Buckelwagen' (chassis number #550-09). (Picture from: OppositelockKinja)
A year before producing the legendary RS Spyder model, the manufacturer had experimented on several unique 550 prototypes. The car featured  with a high rear deck head-faring behind the two comfortable seats, and then Porsche engineers gave it a nickname as the 'Buckelwagen,' it translated to 'hunchback car'.
1953 Porsche 550 'Buckelwagen' (in picture the chassis number #550-06) along with the #550-07 are built as a factory test and endurance race practice car.. (Picture from: Type550)
There was a total of three configured 550 prototypes with the buckel fitted, ie the car with chassis number #550-06, #550-07 (originally built as a factory test and endurance race practice car) and #550-09 were fitted with removable hardtops that transformed the diminutive roadster into a sleek coupe, was also used by factory drivers Hans Herrmann and Richard von Frankenberg as a demonstration car to assess potential Swiss driving school students to join the company' factory team. 
1953 Porsche 550 'Buckelwagen' (chassis number #550-07) while on the racing track with a female racing driver named Annie Bousquet behind the wheel. (Picture from: Type550)
As quoted from the Type550, it was also stated that the Porsche 550 was also inspired by the Glöckler-Porsche 356 racing car developed by Walter Glöckler previously for his racing team. This car is designed with a full glass-rimmed windshield and tapered transom windows which, under rigorous testing, proved to be more aerodynamic than previous designs.
1953 Porsche 550 'Buckelwagen' (chassis number #550-09) with removable hardtop built by Karosseriebau Weinsberg with a red interior. (Picture from: OppositelockKinja)
The first car built in 1953 by using VW's spare parts, it could be possible because previously Ferdinand Porsche Sr. had designed many impressive cars including the Lohner-Porsche Hybrid, Mercedes-Benz SSK, Auto Union V16, and Volkswagen Beetle, so no wonder for his son easier to build the first Porsche racing car by using VW's parts.
1953 Porsche 550 'Buckelwagen' (chassis number #550-09) with removable hardtop sported a quad-cam engine. (Picture from: OppositelockKinja)
Not only that, the Stuttgart-based auto manufacturer also had time to make two units of the 550 pure-coupé racing car which were later used as the company's team racing cars. These were quite successful and could be faster in the circuits, but the roadster was later preferred as a more saleable car. And this RS Spyder model then known became the most expensive Porsche car ever sold in an auction and has many legendary stories as well.
1953 Porsche 550 Prototype 'Buckelwagen' (chassis number #550-09) was painted with the race car’s livery along with #351 and had toured around the several Porsche dealerships throughout Germany for the few months with the winning wreath displayed on the front hood. (Picture from: Type550)
The design advantages made the Porsche 550 so dominant among the high-end racing cars in the mid-1960s. Indeed, the 550 racing car has a solid racing history with its first race entered was the Nürburgring Eifel Race (Eifelrennen Nürburgring - Sports 1500 cc) in May 1953 and where's the Spyder model won. And since then, the 550 Spyder will usually occupy the top 3 positions in its class, due to each Spyder is designed and adapted to be fastly driven.
1953 Porsche 550 Coupé (chassis number #550-01) was painted with the race car’s livery along with #154 and won a Best of Show award at the 2005 Amelia Island Concours. (Picture from: UltimateCarPage)
In late 1953, Porsche showcased a more definitive version of the 550 with a quad-cam engine and simple roadster body. Despite these upgrades, the Coupés were retained by the factory to contest the Carrera Panamericana race. Outfitted with sponsors, they were raced by Jose Herrarte and Jaroslav Juhan to victory in the 1500cc class.
After their appearance at the Carrera, both Coupes were retired and little seen at pubic events. The car with chassis number #550-01 was eventually discovered in the mid 2000s and restored by Cavaglieri Restorations for the Collier Collection. In its 1953 Carrera Panamericana #550-1 won a title of the Best of Show Award at the 2005 Amelia Island Concours.
1953 Porsche 550 Coupé (chassis number #550-03) was painted with the race car’s livery along with #159 and debuted at the 2011 Porsche Race Car Classic after a five year restoration. (Picture from: Type550)
The second Coupé with the chassis number #550-03, was also restored by Cavaglieri Restorations for Jerry Seinfeld. Sitting on original Dunlop Racing tires it debuted at the 2011 Porsche Race Car Classic after a five year restoration. Restorer Joey Cavaglieri said the most difficult part was restoring its hand-made aluminum body. *** [EKA [05112020] | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | TYPE550.COM | SUPERCARS.NET | WIKIPEDIA | OPPOSITELOCK.KINJA.COM]
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