Porsche is one car company which has for decades now stood tall against intense competition in the world of motorsports, almost always coming on top. With its core engineering practices that are unmatched Porsche has given the world of automobile a huge number of legends that have dominated eras and the company still continues to do the same. With the recently unveiled Porsche Cayman 718, Porsche has given an old icon an evolution. The Porsche 718 was a car that truly outclassed it’s much more powerful rivals and went ahead to capture victory after victory wherever it set out to race.
Born out of an incredible layout that consisted of a mid-mounted engine, lightweight construction, very modern design, and a high-powered four-cylinder engine, the legendary Porsche Spyder’s in the form of the Porsche 550 and the Porsche 718 became a force to reckon with in the world of racing 60 years ago. These thoroughbred race sports cars were designed for road, circuit and hill climb races and through 1953 to the middle of the 1960’s, these two have amassed a staggering run of motorsports successes, for both the factory and the privateer teams. So much so was the dominance of these Porsche Spyder’s, the Porsche 550 and the Porsche 718 that factory drivers along with private racer claimed more than thousand victories across the classes and events, yes, that’s right, a thousand victories!
Porsche improved and developed their Spyder’s through the years since the first thoroughbred race car came in the form of the Porsche 550 in 1953, of which only 89 examples were ever made. The Porsche 550 started the evolutionary series of race cars that had engines mounted on the middle of the cars that have lightweight tubular chassis, and as history knows it, these cars became icons of automotive history. I 1956 Type 550 A Spyder followed the 550, a car that had a tubular space frame and a high-output engine, the 550 A Spyder saw a production run of only 40 cars and in 1956 Italian Race Car Driver Umberto Maglioli drove a 550 A to a sensational win in the Targa Florio, which was the most challenging road race of the world in those times.
Following the footprints of the iconic Porsche 550 A Spyder, the Porsche 718 RSK arrived in 1957, where the RS in the name stood for Rennsport or Racing Sport while K related to the design of the new front torsion rods at the car’s rear, that resembled the letter ‘K’. This 1957 Porsche 718 RSK also utilized the tubular frame similar to the 550’s; this frame was made out of seamless steel providing excellent strength even with extremely light weights. These innovative and advanced engineering efforts meant that the Porsche 718 RSK was a huge success throughout the world of automotive racing, the car won at Le Mans. The 718 also had a tubular frame of seamless steel to provide additional strength at the lowest-possible weight. Its engine, suspension, and drum brakes were also optimized. The 718 RSK celebrated successes worldwide: in Le Mans, Nürburgring, in Argentina, in Riverside, California, and in numerous hill-climbing races. The basis of the design of the 550 A Spyder and the Porsche 718 RSK showcased its significance in Formula 2 racing as well, with the single seat Porsche 718/2 winning the 1960 Formula Two manufacturers world championship with style.
The success story of the Porsche 718 continued even when the newly established FIA regulations meant production cars got a boost into the racing scene, this meant that Porsche would arrive to the 1960 season with its Porsche 718 RS60 and as they say the rest is history. The Porsche 718 RS60 won at Targa Florio, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and the European Hill Climb Championship in 1960 and 1961. The new Porsche 718 RS61 Spyder that came in October 1960 became a hit with customer teams with its new rear axle with triangular control rods. The Porsche 718 RS61 Spyder also had a coupe version to race at Le Mans. The last time Porsche 718 GTR raced with four cylinder engines was in 1961, since 1962 saw the Porsche 718 GTR feature a 2-liter 8-Cylinder engine. Further on, the only one piece that was ever made of the Porsche 718 W-RS Spyder raced the same engine from 1961 to 1964.
This long history of racing and its dominance in the world of supersports earned the car a loving nickname ‘The Grandmother’; the Porsche 718 won the European Hill Climb Championship in 1963 and 1964. Establishing this iconic Porsche platform among the biggest legends the world of automotive racing has ever seen. Watch the beautiful video below of these cars from the archives of Porsche museum and let us know what you think of this iconic Porsche 718 in the comments section below.