A vintage Porsche with a truly remarkable racing history is heading for the block in Arizona next year.
Bonhams will offer a highly rare and important 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder, which was once part of the German manufacturer’s official works racing team.
Having placed on the podium at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, the car is now expected to achieve a seven-figure sum.
In 1953 Porsche launched its first purpose-built racing car, the 550 Spyder, which became an instant classic and took the racing world by storm.
The compact car was known as a ‘giant killer’ for its ability to outmatch far larger, more powerful vehicles.
In fact, the design was so low to the ground that during the 1954 Mille Miglia, German racer Hans Herrmann drove one straight under a closed railroad crossing gate.
It was also the car of choice for iconic actor James Dean, who tragically died in his 550 Spyder, known as ‘Little Bastard’, during a car accident in September 1955.
Then in 1956 came the improved 550A Spyder, which featured a far lighter spaceframe chassis, and it soon delivered Porsche’s its first overall win in a major racing event, the 1956 Targa Florio.
Just 40 examples were ever built, with the majority sold to privateer racers around the globe, and just a handful were used for competition by the factory team.
The car offered at Bonhams, chassis 0145 dates from 1958 and was the second-to-last example ever built.
It achieved a number of significant results, most notably a second in class and fifth overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans,and was also a class winner at the Nürburgring 1000 km, the 12 Hours of Reims, the Zandvoort NAV Race and the Dutch Grand Prix.
"This particular 550A, chassis number 0145, stands out as a very special car among a very special breed," said Bonhams.
"Boasting a pedigree that distinguishes it above all others, it was a Porsche Works entrant, a veteran of four world championship races, what is believed to be the only 550A to compete in a Grand Prix, and one of just 40 ever created.”
"Furthermore, it’s one of the best original examples extant. Simply put, it’s among the most important cars of its kind in the world."
The Bonhams Scottsdale sale takes place at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa on January 18.