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1959/60 Porsche 718 RS 60 Spyder

1959/60 Porsche 718 RS 60 Spyder

Automobile sport was part of the picture for the fledgling Porsche sports car firm from the first. The 356 quickly became popular around the world, in the hands of private drivers with sporting ambitions. New racesports cars were developed in Zuffenhausen at the beginning of the fifties: the1.5 liter 550 Spyder proved a shark in the goldfish bowl against larger-displacement competitors in major races. This Spyder used the first engine developed by Porsche for Porsche: the Type 547 with 1.5 liter displacement and four, shaft-driven, overhead camshafts.

Porsche had made the change from a floor pan to tubular space frame for racesport construction, established the five-speed gearbox, continued to increase performance and fitted larger drum brakes. These improvements, along with countless other modifications, kept the Spyder at the head of the " small sports car class " (up to 1500 cc) throughout the fifties.

But 1960 brought new regulations for racesports cars, leading to the Spyder RS 60 with displacement increased to 1600 cc, larger windshield, a "functional" top and a regulation trunk in the tail, behind a four-cam engine which now produced 160 HP. This RS 60 brought Porsche its finest results up to that time, particularly in long-distance events. While an overall victory in the 44th Targa Florio in 1960 by Bonnier/Herrmann, with a lead of more than 6 minutes over a 3 liter Ferrari, was within the range of previous achievements - sports cars from Zuffenhausen had already captured overall Targa Florio victories in l956 and 1959 - a new Porsche chapter opened with the first appearance of the RS 60 at the 12 hours of Sebring in the USA. Olivier Gendebien and Hans Herrmann won outright while Holbert/Scheckter/Fowler drove a second factory RS 60 into second, ahead of Nethercutt/Lovely in a 3 liter Ferrari Dino. Swiss driver Heini Walter, at the wheel of an RS 60, secured Porsche's third and fourth European Hillclimb Championships in 1960 and 1961, following those from 1958 by Count Berghe von Trips and 1959 by Edgar Barth.

Technical Specifications
Engine: Four-cylinder, unblown, air-cooled, two-valve, opposed-piston engine, four shaft-driven overhead camshafts
Power: 160 HP at 7.800 RPM
Displacement: 1.587 cc
Fuel system: Two dual-downdraft carburetors
Transmission: Five-speed gearbox, limited-slip differential
Chassis: Steel-tube space frame, independent suspension, torsion bars in front, coil springs in the rear, drum brakes
Dimensions and weight: Wheelbase 2.200 mm
length 3.700 mm
weight 550 kg
Performance: Top speed approx. 225 km/h
Chassis No. of the museum car: 718 043