1959 Porsche 718 RSK Roadster / 718-019 Chassis Information

1959 Porsche 718 RSK photograph

1959 Porsche 718 RSK photograph

1959 Porsche 718 RSK photograph

1959 Porsche 718 RSK photograph

1959 Porsche 718 RSK1959 Porsche 718 RSK1959 Porsche 718 RSK1959 Porsche 718 RSK
Roadster
Chassis #: 718-019
Engine #: 90322
Sold for $2,860,000 at 2016 Gooding & Company : The Amelia Island Auction.
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


2016 Gooding & Company : The Amelia Island Auction

Pre-Auction Estimates :
$3,800,000-$4,200,000 
Sale Price :
$2,860,000

2018 1
2016 1
2014 1
2013 1

Recent Sales

(Data based on Model Year 1959 sales)
1959 Porsche 718 RSK
Chassis#: 718-024
Sold for $3,740,000
  2018 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach
1959 Porsche 718 RSK image  1959 Porsche 718 RSK image  
1959 Porsche 718 RSK
Chassis#: 718-019
Sold for $2,860,000
  2016 Gooding & Company : The Amelia Island Auction
1959 Porsche 718 RSK image  1959 Porsche 718 RSK image  
1959 Porsche 718 RSK
Chassis#: 718-023
Sold for $3,300,000
  2014 Gooding & Company - Amelia Island Sale
1959 Porsche 718 RSK image  1959 Porsche 718 RSK image  
1959 Porsche 718 RSK
Chassis#: 718-023
Sold for $3,135,000
  2013 Gooding and Company - The Scottsdale Auction
1959 Porsche 718 RSK image  1959 Porsche 718 RSK image  

Vehicles That Failed To Sell

1959 Porsche 718 RSK's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1959 Porsche 718 RSK Center-Seat Spyder718-0282019 Bonhams : Quail Lodge Auction   

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1959 Porsche 718 RSK vehicle thumbnail image  1959 Porsche 718 RSK vehicle thumbnail image  

Vehicle Profiles

Chassis information for the Porsche 718 RSK1959 Roadster
Chassis Num: 018
Chassis information for the Porsche 718 RSK1959 Roadster
Chassis Num: 718-019
Engine Num: 90322
Chassis information for the Porsche 718 RSK1959 Roadster
Chassis Num: 718-023
Engine Num: 90215


Vehicle information, history, and specifications from concept to production.

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