This is quite possibly the most valuable Porsche ever.
If someone wanted to trace the lineage of the current Porsche Boxster, it would lead back to the 718. Both the Boxster and the Cayman were recently given the 718 moniker as a nod to their roots. However, the lineage can actually be traced back a little further. The 718 was actually just an improved version of the highly successful 550, a race car produced by Porsche from 1953 to 1956. The car's success in motorsports and stunningly simple design has made it one of the most collectible Porsche models in the world.
Only 90 prototype and customer cars were built, making the car extremely rare. When it was entered in a race, it typically finished top three in its class. The 550 Spyder was such a desirable race car because it could be driven to the track, raced, and driven home without any fuss. So many race teams used the 550 Spyder that it was often difficult to tell the cars apart with up to six silver 550s on one track at the same time. The race teams had to identify the cars by differing colors painted on the tail spears. Fast forward to today, and the 550 has now become the ultimate collector's item. Famous owners include James Dean, Ralph Lauren, and Jerry Seinfeld.
The legendary status of the 550 Spyder became cemented when James Dean, one of the most famous actors of the 1950s, died at the wheel of his 550 which was nicknamed "Little Bastard." Unfortunately, this was not the last time that a famous actor died behind the wheel of a Porsche.
Buying one of these cars today would cost millions of dollars. Jerry Seinfeld recently auctioned off several cars from his legendary collection. One of these cars was a completely unrestored 550 Spyder with only 10,300 miles on the odometer. This car was expected to sell for around $5 to $6 million, but we managed to find one that costs less than $50,000. Of course, there is no way that a real 550 Spyder would be anywhere near this price. However, much like the Shelby Cobra, there are several companies that are devoted to making accurate replicas of the original. Thanks to these companies, owning a 550 Spyder no longer has to remain a dream.
We are no strangers to replica cars on our Supercars On A $50,000 Budget series, having featured a badass Shelby Cobra replica and even a replica of the most expensive car ever sold, the Ferrari 250 GTO. The car that we found is a replica 1956 550 that is currently for sale for $49,589 at Autohaus Porsche in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The car only has 4,040 miles on the odometer, which is slightly less impressive than Seinfeld's car, which is more than 60 years old. The car is painted in the classic Polar Silver Metallic with red stripes and matching red leather speedster seats. The build itself was performed by Thunder Ranch in El Cajon, California.
The company uses parts from Rock West Racing, which designs replacement parts for Porsche replica cars. This 550 Spyder is a fully-loaded model with tons of nice features. The car is powered by an air-cooled Scat 2275 cc four-cylinder engine matched to a four-speed manual transmission with Syncromesh gears. The engine has tons of expensive parts including a ceramic-coated exhaust, ceramic headers, and a 911 alternator with an RS fan shroud. By far the most impressive component is the custom, Billet Modular aluminum recreation wheels which apparently cost $11,000. Given the amount of detail on this car, it is amazing that the whole thing can be purchased for less than $50,000.
The sales manager told us that the car was formerly part of a collection which featured several amazing Porsche models costing seven figures. This amazing 550 Spyder replica was good enough to sit among million dollar Porsche cars, so $50,000 seems like a completely reasonable price for such an amazing work of art.