1959 Porsche 718 RSK news, pictures, specifications, and information
Chassis Num: 718-023
Engine Num: 90215
Sold for $3,135,000 at 2013 Gooding & Company
Sold for $3,300,000 at 2014 Gooding & Company
It is rare to find, or even think of, a more evocative spyder design than that which would be produced by Porsche in the late 1950s. Many would consider the 356 and 550 striking, compact spyder designs. However, the 718, which would come online mid-way through the 1957 season, would be all the more arresting and modern. But the Type 718 wouldn't just look the part. It would more than aptly carry on Porsche's dominance and would greatly influence sports car racing for years to come.
The design of the new car would be just the beginning. Revised suspension would give the new car even greater handling. On top of all this, the car was also much lighter than its predecessor. Therefore, even though it used the same 1.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine that had been used on the 550, the overall performance of the 718 RSK would be greatly increased. The result would be that the RSK would continue Porsche's class dominance by either winning or ending up on the podium at Sebring, the Targa Florio and Le Mans in 1958. One year later, at the Targa Florio, RSKs would finish one-two-three.
Chassis 718-023 would be completed in March of 1959 by Porsche's racing department. Originally built to the specifications of a 1500 RSK, the car would receive an improved engine, the very same one it retains to this very day.
When completed, 718-023 would end up the property of Miami racer, Roy Schechter. Schechter had been racing Porsches for about a year before he would put up $8,000 for the 718. Receiving the car in September of 1959, Roy would head to Cuba for the 4 Hours of Alamar, an SCCA-sanctioned race held not far from Fidel Castro's home.
Slowed by the rainy conditions and clutch issues, Schechter would finish that first race in 4th place. This would be followed by a 3rd at Napier Field in Dothan, Alabama. Then, some time later, Schechter would head to the Bahamas for what was known as the Nassau Speed Week. Battling against strong competition in the Governor's Trophy race, Roy would finish the main event in 5th place, a rather impressive result against NART Ferraris, Lotus and other RSKs.
Following a 3rd place result in the Riverside Grand Prix in April of 1960, Schechter would retire the car and would actually place an add for the car in Road & Track. Tom Beil of Pennsylvania would buy the Porsche and then would become part of Dr. William Jackson's collection in the late-1960s. Dr. Jackson's Porsche collection would be impressive and extensive, and this fact spoke volumes as to the value he placed on 718-023.
In 1999, after a long spell with Dr. Jackson, Heritage Classics of West Hollywood would purchase the 718-023 along with a number of other cars from his collection. Soon after, E. Kent Rawson, a collector from Florida, would come to own the car. Once again, the Porsche would join a collection filled with remarkable road cars and those created for the track.
The Porsche would undergo a full, concours-detail, restoration. Then, in 2006, the car would be sold again. This time the owner would be Peter Wirichs, another Porsche collector from Germany. Two years later, Jurgen Barth would produce a detailed report of the car's racing history and lineage. Jurgen Barth, the son of former racing driver Edgar Barth, is not only a former racing driver, but also, an authority on Porsche history. Therefore, such documents only add to the story of 023. Because of its history and condition, a prominent collector would become the car's next owner in 2013.
The car's new owner would commission Paul Russell and Company to ensure the Porsche was in full mechanical condition. However, because of its limited racing life and the great care it received over the course of its life, 023 remains a fine example of the 718 RSK.
Though some 55 years on now, the Porsche 718 RSK remains a remarkably modern design and a certain timepiece for the future. And, 718-023 remains one of its most outstanding ambassadors. Sources:
'1959 Porsche 718 RSK News, Pictures, Specfications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z9973/Porsche-718-RSK.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z9973/Porsche-718-RSK.aspx. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
'1960 Porsche 718/RS60 News, Pictures, Specifications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z9972/Porsche-718/RS60.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z9972/Porsche-718/RS60.aspx. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
'1959/60 Porsche 718 RS 60 Spyder', (http://www.porsche.com/uk/motorsportandevents/motorsport/philosophy/history/racingcars/1959-718rs60/). Porsche. http://www.porsche.com/uk/motorsportandevents/motorsport/philosophy/history/racingcars/1959-718rs60/. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
'1959 Porsche 718 RSK', (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1959-porsche-718-rsk-2/#tab2). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1959-porsche-718-rsk-2/#tab2. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Porsche 718', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 December 2013, 20:14 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Porsche_718&oldid=587418975 accessed 18 February 2014 By Jeremy McMullen
This rare Porsche represents one of only six RSK center-seat racing cars ever built. Based on input from factory race car drivers, Porsche made a decision to develop the RSK to compete in both Sports Car and Formula Two racing. To accomplish this, these special RSKs have unique features, and can be quickly converted to a center seat from a two-seat, left-hand drive configuration. 718-030 was delivered to Jean Behra in 1959 for his racing team. Colin Davis drove the car at Reims, followed by Gerard Laurea at Rouen. In late July, Jean Behra drove this car at the Trophees d'Auvergne Sport, finishing second. In 1960, the car was raced at the Grand Prix at Francochamps and entered the Targa Florio and the Avus in 1961. In 1961, Riolo raced the car at the Targa Florio. The car was on display at the Collier Museum in Naples, Florida, from 1981 through 1999.
718.007 was one of the two factory-built center-seat cars. It raced at Spa, the Targa, Nurburgring, Le Mans, Rheims, and Goodwood in 1959. The Type 718 RSK first appeared in 1957 as an extension of the 550. It featured the same form and wheelbase as the 550A but with a lower body.
In 1957, Formula Two was reinstated as the Junior Formula to Formula One. The rules called for unsupercharged 1500cc engines with full envelope or open-wheeled cars eligible. Porsche achieved success with both G50s and RSKs. In 1959, at the request of several customers, Porsche built rear RSKs that could be switched from left-hand drive to center-steer.
RSK number 718-028 was built in April 1959 and sold to Kurt Christian Goethals in Belgium. RSK number 028 was successfully raced by Goethals for one season and then returned to Porsche to be fitted with a 1600cc engine.
This center seat RSK is one of six built and one of four left in existence. Dubbed 'The Giant Killer' it was much smaller than its competitors. It converts from a two seat left-hand drive to center steer in a few hours time. This is the only car to ever compete in Formula 2 and Sports Car racing, finishing seventh at the 1959 U.S. Grand Prix in Sebring, Florida.
The car remained at the Porsche factory, unraced, until it was sold to a U.S. buyer in 1974. The car was raced briefly, resold, and stored until the current owner purchased it in 1990. RSK #028 was restored in the single seat configuration and has been actively vintage raced since 1992.
The Porsche 718 RSK was introduced in 1958 and soon became known as a giant killer often beating much larger engined Ferraris and Aston Martins. Its best result was at LeMans in 1958 with a 4th place finish. This car was especially built as a hill climb car and was the last of 32 RSKs built. It was built for Louise Piech, Ferry Porsche's sister and co-owner of Porsche AG, and Ernst Vogel drove the car in the European Hill Climb Championship beating many Porsche factory drivers including Edger Barth, Hans Herman and Wolfgang Siedel. The car was later sold to the USA and was owned for many years by vintage racer Roy Walzer. Its present owner has competed regularly in motor sport events in the USA and Australian, including the Mount Buller Hill Climb in 2005 and the Monterey Historics in 2009.
Chassis Num: 718-019
Engine Num: 90322
Sold for $2,860,000 at 2016 Gooding & Company
The Porsche RSK, with internal designation Type 718, replaced the 550A. They had streamlined Wendler coachwork which was more modern than its predecessor, with faired-in headlamps, and lower aerodynamic drag. Additionally, they had more power, an improved suspension, and more efficient braking. Power was from the Ernst Fuhrmann-designed four-cam Type 547 unit with modifications to the roller bearing crankshaft, cam timing, and compression. It produced 140 horsepower and fitted into the 1,168 lb. Spyder.
The 718 Spyder made its racing debut at the 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans. The following year, it proved to be a strong contender in the small-displacement category, winning its class and placing on podium at Sebring, Le Mans, and the Targa Florio. In 1959, the works-entered RSK took the overall win, leading Porsche's 1-2-3 finish at the Italian event.
Just 34 examples of the original Type 718 RSK were built. This particular example, chassis number 718-019, was built to the specifications of a privateer RSK and fitted with the improved Type 547/3 engine. Originally, it was powered by engine number 90211 and transaxle number 718-012. It was finished in silver and given polished alloy-rim wheels and Continental RS racing tires. It may have been sold new to Harry Blanchard of Greenwich, Connecticut. As with many US-delivered Porsche Spyders, a definitive racing record for an individual chassis remains a challenge to fully confirm. It is believed, however, that 718-019 was raced in 18 races through the United States and Canada in 1959. Mr. Blanchard and Roger Penske were the primary drivers of the RSK, with Penske capturing his first race win that year at Lime Rock.
In January 1960, Harry Blanchard was killed in an accident at Buenos Aires, while driving another Porsche Spyder. Ownership of 718-019 transferred to Roger Penske. Penske had a tremendous 1960 SCCA season, winning that year's F-Modified Championship, thanks in part to his victories with 718-019. Penske and the RSK captured class or overall wins in more than 10 race outings.
Roger Penske sold 718-019 sometime after the 1960 season. It was sold to Lake Underwood, a car dealer and active SCCA driver. During his ownership, Underwood captured an overall win at Vineland in the modified race.
The RSK later re-appeared in California, where Bob Jones of Jones Racing Enterprises entered the Spyder throughout the late 1960s. John Beam of the San Francisco Bay Area purchased the RSK in 1970 and then modified the car by installing fiberglass fender flares, wide wheels, a full-width roll bar, and an 1800cc pushrod engine. It was re-finished in green with bright orange trim. The car was entered in an SCCA race at Riverside.
Near the close of 1970, the car caught fire in Beam's garage, damaging the aluminum bodywork and engine its racing career. From there, ownership passed to Rudy Klein, who then sold it in 1974 to Harry Haggard of Palos Verdes Estates, California. Mr. Haggard decided to restore the RSK as a road car. By 1986, Haggard's dream of making 718-019 street legal had petered out; the car was sold to California Porsche enthusiast Dirk Layer, who then sold it to Tom Trabue of Columbia, Missouri.
In the early 1990s, Mr. Trabue decided to have the car comprehensively restored. New aluminum bodywork was fabricated and extensive repairs were made to the frame. Several years of work resulted in one of the most accurate restorations ever carried out on an RSK. Once completed, Mr. Trabue campaigned 718-019 in history events. In 2000, it was sold to Otis Chandler. In 2001, it joined the Jerry Seinfeld Collection. Mr. Seinfeld has driven the RSK in private track events and weekend excursions. In 2003, Mr. Seinfeld entered the RSK in the Colorado Grand. In 2014, it was loaned to Porsche Cars North America for a media event held at Laguna Seca, and later was exhibited at the Concours on the Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea. More recently, it was featured in an episode of Mr. Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee featuring Kevin Hart.
Currently, 718-019 is powered by a 1.6-liter version of the Type 547/3 engine - referred to as the Type 547/4. This engine, numbered 90322, was originally built for an RS61. The transaxle, also a proper Spyder component, is stamped 718-071.By Daniel Vaughan | May 2016
The RSK, was an updated version of Porsche's first true racecar, the 550A, which had repeatedly won its class at LeMans. While the RSK still used the 550's 1.5-liter engine from the 550A. It employed a revised suspension, which lowered the car's aerodynamic profile. For 1959, engineers replaced the car's swing axles with upper and lower wishbones. This led to Porsche's continuing its class wins at LeMans, as well as the Targa Florio. The current owner has owned the car for 38 years, and has enjoyed it in vintage racing since 1985.
The Porsche 718 was raced by Porsche between 1957 and 1962. It was a development of the successful 550A with improvements to the bodywork and suspension. It earned the nickname 'RSK' due to its front frame resembling the letter K. It was initially a two-seater 1.5-liter sports car that was later adapted to compete in a number of different formulas. Due to regulation changes throughout the years, the car was updated and changed to comply with the new rules.
In 1957, Formula Two was reinstated as the Junior Formula to Formula One. The rules called for un-supercharged 1500cc engines with full envelope or open-wheeled cars eligible. Porsche achieved success with both G50s and RSKs. In 1959, at the request of several customers, Porsche built rear RSKs that could be switched from left-hand drive to center-steer.
The car had a mid-engine design and was powered by the Type 547/3 1.5-liter quad-cam engine developing 142 horsepower which was first introduced in the 550A. The 570 kg vehicle had a five-speed manual gearbox and a space-frame chassis.
The racing debut for the Porsche 718 was in 1957 at the 24 Hours of LeMans where it was piloted by Umberto Maglioli and Edgar Barth. Unfortunately, the car failed to finish the race due to an accident. It returned to LeMan a year later where it finished third overall and first in class. At the Targa Florio, jean Behra finished second and a year later, it was the overall winner at the race. A 718 also won the European Hill Climb Championship in 1958 and 1959.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2011
The original owner was Ed Hugus a race car driver of the 1950s. In the 1959 Le Mans race, Ed and co-driver Ray 'Ernie' Erikson were running first in class but retired after 20 hours with a broken crankshaft.
This car finished 7th overall at Sebring in 1959 driven by Hugus and Erikson. In 1959, the team was the class winner at Elkhart Lake, again, with drivers Hugus and Erikson.
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