Mr Dean & the Giant Killer

In 1948, Ferdinand and his merry band of 200 founded Porsche; by the end of 1949, they had produced 52 Porsche 356s.

By 1953, Porsche was achieving significant trackside success with the Porsche RS 550 Spyder.

The 550 became a threat even to the larger engined competition and rescripted motor racing history.

It was so successful, even in privateers’ hands, that it became known as the ‘Giant Killer’.

Porsche only built 70 RS Spyder’s, and the Porsche works team replaced the RS with the 550A; although it looked similar, Porsche fitted a pioneering spaceframe chassis and an engine that produced 135bhp.

The 550A raced very successfully, and equally importantly, it was the key that unlocked the Porsche 917 and 956 box.

The two cars that provided Porsche with numerous Le Mans wins.

Sadly, James Dean died following an accident in 1955 whilst driving his 550 Spyder.

Regretful as this tragic accident was, ironically, it built the 550s enduring fame.