In a recent initiative - auction houses now promote what did not sell but what is still available on site after an auction. Bid up to $4.2m - so $800k shy of lower estimate if this was a genuine bid - interesting car - maybe glitch in history research which is still ongoing is holding it back?
1958 Porsche 550A Spyder, 5th Overall at the 1958 24 Hours of Le MansAn Available Lot from Gooding & Co's Saturday's Pebble Beach Auctions
Estimate: $5,000,000 - $6,000,000Chassis: 550A-0145*Please note that this car is sold on a Bill of Sale. Please note that Warren Eads is not a former owner of this car. Research into this period of ownership is ongoing. Please also note that the car is accompanied by a copy of its FIVA identity card and not an original, as stated in the catalogue.
One of Only 40 Porsche 550A Spyders BuiltClass Winner at 1000 Km Nürburgring and 2nd in Class and 5th Overall at 24 Hours of Le MansPorsche Works Entrant in 1958 with Owner/Driver Carel Godin de BeaufortBelieved to be the Only 550A to Compete in a Grand PrixDriven in 10 Mille Miglia Retrospectives
1,498 CC DOHC Flat 4-Cylinder EngineTwin Solex 40 PII-4 Carburetors135 BHP at 7,200 RPM4-Speed Manual Transaxle4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum BrakesFully Independent Torsion Bar Suspension with Trailing Arms and Shock Absorbers
PROVENANCECount Carel Godin de Beaufort, Netherlands (acquired from Porsche in April 1958)Eglinton Caledonia Motors, Toronto, Canada (acquired from the above in 1960)Jim Muzzin, Canada (acquired circa 1961)Bill Sadler, Belmont, California (acquired circa 1967)Dick Werkman (acquired from the above in 1974)Warren Eads, Rolling Hills Estates, California (acquired from the above in 1989)Burkhard von Schenk, Germany (acquired from the above in 1991)Bruno Ferracin, Italy (acquired from the above in 2002)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
RACE HISTORYAspern-Vienna Airport Race, Austria, May 15, 1958, Carel Godin De Beaufort, (DNF)Zandvoort GP Holland, The Netherlands, May 26, 1958, Carel Godin De Beaufort, (11th in Class)1000 Km Nurburgring, FIA World Sports Car Championship, Germany, June 1, 1958, Von Frankenberg/De Beaufort, (6th Overall, 1st in Class)24 h Le Mans, FIA World Sports Car Championship, France, June 21-22, 1958, De Beaufort/Linge, (5th Overall, 2nd in Class)12 h Rheims, France, July 5-6, 1958, Carel Godin De Beaufort, (1st in Class)Zandvoort NAV Race, The Netherlands, July 6, 1958, Carel Godin De Beaufort, (2nd Overall, 1st in Class)Trento-Bondone Hillclimb, Italy, July 13, 1958, Edgar Barth, (4th Overall)10 h Messina, Italy, July 19-20, 1958, de Beaufort/von Dory, (3rd in Class)Zandvoort, The Netherlands, July 26, 1958, Carel Godin De Beaufort, (1st in Class)Rheinland Palatine Prize, Germany, August 3, 1958, Carel Godin De Beaufort, (5th Overall)Nurburgring GP, Germany, August 3, 1958, De Beaufort/Lewis-Evans, (DNF)Karlskoga GP Sweden, Sweden, August 10, 1958, Carel Godin De Beaufort, (DNF)Gaisberg Hillclimb, Austria, August 15, 1958, Carel Godin De Beaufort, (2nd in Class)Goodwood, World Sports Car Championship, United Kingdom, September 13, 1958, De Beaufort/Heins, (8th Overall, 2nd in Class)Innsbruck Airport Race, Austria, October 5, 1958, Carel Godin De Beaufort, (2nd in Class)Green Acres London ASC, Canada, May 30, 1959, Peter Ryan, (DNF)Saint Eugene Montreal MG CC Races, Canada, June 14, 1959, Peter Ryan, (2nd Overall, 1st in Class)Harewood Acres, Canada, June 20, 1959, Peter Ryan, (3rd Overall, 1st in Class)Green Acres London ASC, Canada, July 4-5, 1959, Peter Ryan, (3rd Overall)Harewood Acres, Canada, August 12, 1959, Peter Ryan, (1st in Class)Harewood Acres Autumn Cup Race, Canada, September 12, 1959, Francis Bradley, (1st Overall, 1st in Class)Harewood Acres CRDA International Challenge, Canada, September 19, 1959, Francis Bradley, (2nd Overall)LASC Green Acres, Canada, May 14, 1960, Jim Muzzin, 4thHarewood Acres Formula Libre, Canada, May 28, 1960, Jim MuzzinMMGCC St. Eugene, Canada, June 5, 1960, Jim Muzzin, 4thMMGCC St. Eugene, Canada, June 26, 1960, Jim Muzzin, 3rdFormula Libre Watkins Glen, Watkins Glen, NY, October 9, 1960, Jim Muzzin, 8thMosport modified 1.6, Ontario, Canada, June 10, 1961, Jim Muzzin, 3rdPlayers 200 Mosport, Ontario, Canada, June 24, 1961. Jim Muzzin, 9thMMGCC St. Eugene, Canada, July 9, 1961, Jim MuzzinMosport DKW Trophy, Ontario, Canada, August 5, 1961, Jim MuzzinGP Canada Mosport, Ontario, Canada, September 30, 1961, Jim Muzzin, DNFLASC Green Acres Modified, Canada, June 2, 1962, Jim Muzzin, 1stLASC Green Acres Main, Canada, June 2, 1962, Jim Muzzin, 3rdPlayers 200 Mosport, Ontario, Canada, June 9, 1962. Jim Muzzin, DNFLASC Green Acres Main, Canada, July 14, 1962, Jim Muzzin, 3rdIndian Summer Mosport, Ontario, Canada, September 8, 1962, Jim Muzzin, 4th
EXHIBITEDMille Miglia Retrospective, Multiple Entries Between 2002 and 2012Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance, 2015 (Second in Class)
LITERATURERolf Sprenger and Steve Heinrichs, Porsche Carrera: And the Early Years of Porsche Motorsports, pp. 356, 815
THIS CARAs Porsche’s initial dedicated competition model, the 550 Spyder was an unqualified success and by all accounts a legendary performer. In both factory and privateer hands, the 550 and its successors would dominate small-displacement international sports car competition for nearly a decade starting in the mid-1950s, and, under the right conditions, could challenge for overall victory against the stiffest competition.
Porsche has never been a company to rest on its laurels, and so the 550A would benefit from significant improvements. As the second model in this series, the 550A differed from the 550 only slightly in name but significantly in specification and performance. Various changes greatly enhanced the drivability of the 40 examples of the 550A built and included a change to a space-frame design, a first for Porsche. The body shape was also modified, and the spare tire and wheel were moved to the front of the car for better weight distribution. Importantly, the rear suspension now used trailing arms instead of the 550’s swing axles, giving the 550A greater stability. The results were remarkable, and the 550A is widely regarded as the friendliest of Porsche’s Spyders to drive. It was called “the greatest long-distance racer in the world” by legend Ken Miles, a man with significant time behind the wheel of this model of Porsche.
Continuing to utilize Ernst Fuhrmann’s marvelous four-cam, flat-four engine, racing results followed, with the 550A instantly competitive in its class and often in the fray for overall wins. As with its forebears, this Porsche was a giant killer, capable of competing with much more powerful machinery from Ferrari, Maserati, and others.
The majority of the 550As built were sold from new to privateer racers around the globe. Significantly more exclusive are the examples that were used as racing entries by the factory. Chassis 550A-0145 is the second-to-last 550A built. It’s a veteran of four world championship races while campaigned as a works entry by Porsche in 1958.
Easily the most significant aspect of this otherwise hugely impressive machine, 550A-0145’s competition history includes entry in the 1000 Km Nürburgring (1st in Class), 12 Hours of Reims (1st in Class), and a terrific 2nd in Class and 5th Overall at the 1958 24 Hours of Le Mans, the best result for the model at Circuit de la Sarthe. Also a major milestone was the appearance of 550A-0145 in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, the only known GP entry by a 550A. Carel Godin de Beaufort was the owner and driver for all of these races, and he would later compete in additional events in 1958 both as a private and works entrant. These included hill climbs and circuit races, highlighted by a 2nd in Class at the Goodwood Tourist Trophy, where it was entered by Porsche.
De Beaufort was a Dutch nobleman with very strong ties to Porsche who became a highly regarded driver. He was very well liked by his competitors because of his happy-go-lucky demeanor. His racing record was respectable in both sports cars and on the GP circuit, where he competed in a Porsche 718/2. De Beaufort would become a fixture at international meetings until his untimely death at the age of 30 after an accident at the 1964 German Grand Prix.
According to history compiled by Porsche AG and marque experts Jürgen Barth and Andy Prill, 550A-0145 was sold by de Beaufort to Eglinton Caledonia Motors in Toronto, Canada. It competed in various races in 1959 and 1960, driven by Peter Ryan and Jim Muzzin, before being sold to Muzzin circa 1961. Competition records indicate that Muzzin would continue to compete in 550A-0145 through 1962 under the Willies Downtown Porsche Service banner before the car was eventually sold to an owner in California, circa 1967. No. 550A-0145 would remain in California, including a period in the ownership of collector Warren Eads circa 1989, until being exported to Europe in 1991. In 2002, Italian collector and enthusiast Bruno Ferracin bought 550A-0145 and eventually drove the Porsche in 10 consecutive Mille Miglia retrospectives, a testament to the car’s touring capabilities and endurance.
In 2013, the consignor hired Mr. Prill to inspect 550A-0145 for potential purchase. In an accompanying report dated Feb. 27, 2013, Mr. Prill provides detailed analysis of all aspects of the Spyder’s history, provenance, and condition, including competition records provided by Porsche, and ranks 550A-0145 in the top three of all 550A Spyders produced. Importantly, Mr. Prill reports that the engine in 550A-0145 was fully rebuilt in 2012 and had been used little since.
Today, 550A-0145 comes to auction from one of the world’s great collections of competition Porsches resplendent in its no. 32 livery from the 1958 24 Hours of Le Mans, surely its most significant moment. The Porsche’s four-cam engine is stamped P90127, and the installed gearbox is a period four-speed unit. A five-speed gearbox, numbered 690035 and reported by Andy Prill to be original to the car, accompanies the sale of the 550A, along with a period Spyder racing jack and a folder of documentation including a FIVA identity card. Period-correct details abound, with 550A-0145 riding on RS60-spec 4.5″-wide bi-metallic wheels and carrying the correct woven upholstery on its two aluminum bucket seats. Mr. Prill also indicated that many rare and difficult-to-find items were present at the time of inspection, such as the voltage regulator, glass fuel-pressure bowl and oil thermostat assembly. Cosmetically, 550A-0145 presents very well, reflecting careful attention over the course of its many miles of touring. Evidence of this condition is reflected by the Porsche’s 2nd in Class at the 2015 Salon Privé Concours.
Offering usable and friendly performance in addition to being a potent candidate for some of the world’s top vintage racing events, the Porsche 550A is definitely among the greatest of dual-purpose vintage automobiles. Whether claiming glory on the track at Le Mans Classique, recognition at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® or providing broad smiles in events such as the Mille Miglia or Colorado Grand, this machine can provide enjoyment to its owner limited only by imagination. Style, charisma, and exclusivity are all exuded by Porsche 550A-0145, and whether it is the factory racing history or simply what you see before you that captivates your heart, you can be sure that this most historic of racing Porsches will remain a loyal and capable companion through whatever adventures you choose.