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Porsche 718 Spyder - The Story

The history, updates and story behind the Porsche 718.

Porsche 718 Variant Guides

As successor and further development of the 550 A, the 718 RSK debuted in 1957 (34 cars made). Its name paid tribute to both racing and technology: the RS stands for Rennsport (“racing sport”) and the K reflects the configuration of the newly developed front torsion rods on its back. The 718 RSK demonstrated the enormous potential of these Porsche designs in Formula Two as well. Further developed as a single-seater, the 718/2 won the 1960 Formula Two manu­facturers’ world championship. When the new FIA regulations stipulated closer ties to production cars, Porsche responded in the 1960 season with the 718 RS 60 (19 cars made). Its greatest successes included overall victories at the Targa Florio, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and the European Hill Climb Championship in 1960 and 1961. The 718 RS 61 Spyder (13 cars) made its first appearance in October of 1960. In order to exploit the potential of the 718 Spyder for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 718 RS 61 was further developed into a coupe version. In the 1961 season, the 718 GTR was still entering races with a four-cylinder engine, whereas in 1962 it featured a two-liter eight-cylinder variant as well as disc brakes. The 718 W-RS Spyder, of which only one was built, also used these two types of engines for its races from 1961 to 1964. It won the European Hill Climb Championship in 1963 and 1964.

The 718 was a development of the successful Porsche 550A with improvements made to the body work and suspension. The car's full name is 718 RSK, where "RS" stands for RennSport (sports-racing) and the "K" reflects the shape of the car's revised torsion-bar suspension. It had a mid-engined layout and used the 142 horsepower (106 kW) 1.5-litre Type 547/3 quad-cam engine introduced in the 550A. There were several variations, including the RSK Mittellenker.
Porsche 718 RSK Mittellenker
Porsche created the single-seat 718 RSK Mittellenker (center steering) to compete in Formula 2 racing. The body differed from the 718 2-seat sports racer only to accommodate the central driving position, with revised seat, steering, shifter and pedal placement, and the aerodynamic fairing behind the driver’s head moved from the left to the middle. Instead of having a full-width cockpit, the body sides were extended toward the center to create a space solely for the single driver, with a short, wrap-around windshield.
Porsche 718/2 F2
In 1959 Porsche unveiled the prototype of a narrow, open-wheeled car called the Porsche 718/2 that married the 718's mechanicals with a more traditional single-seat Formula body. For 1960 the production 718/2, starting with chassis number 718201, received revised bodywork, a 6-speed transaxle, and a wheelbase extended by 100 mm. A total of five cars were built. Some of these four-cylinder cars were later raced in F1 under the 1962 1½ litre formula.
Porsche 718 RS 60
For the 1960 season the FIA made changes to the regulation regarding the windscreen and cockpit size. These rules changes together with a larger (1.6-litre) Type 547/3 engine, developing 160 horsepower (120 kW) and a new double wishbone rear suspension brought about the RS 60 model. The RS 60 brought Porsche victory at the 1960 12 Hours of Sebring with a car driven by Hans Herrmann and Olivier Gendebien. 1960 also saw Porsche win the Targa Florio with Hans Herrmann being joined on the winner podium by Jo Bonnier and Graham Hill. z
The fifth and the last of the 718/2 F2 cars, with chassis number 718/2-05 was an experimental formula racing car. It had the 718/2 chassis, but a different body. The car never got its own type number. It was a one-off car, continuous development project that later evolved into something that became the prototype for the 1961 Porsche 787 F1 car and then even for the 1962 Porsche 804 F1 car. 718/2-05, was first seen at the F2 race on Solitude race track near Stuttgart in July 1960.
The 1961 Porsche RS was one of the last Spyders made by Porsche that used the potent 4-cam engine. It was a successor to the 1960 RS60 which was a highly developed version of the original 550 RS Spyder. These diminutive racecars excelled on the tighter courses like the Targa Florio which was first won by Porsche in 1956. That victory marked the first time a sports car with a midship engine had won a major motor sports event.
The story of the 718 coupé began in 1960 when a customer ordered a one-off design from Karosserie Wendler. The car was built on the Porsche 550 chassis. Front-end design came from the 718 Spyder. The roof and the rear end were unique creations by Wendler. For the Le Mans 24h race in June 1961, Porsche created two 718 RS 61 Coupés. They shared the side view silhouette of the Wendler coupé and the rear end of the 718 Spyder, but the front design was original to the car.
The 1961 4-cylinder special Spyder is the car that became the 1962 8-cylinder W-RS Spyder. It started during the 1961 racing season, when three special 718 racing cars were created for the factory team. Two of those special cars were built as coupés and one as a Spyder - with chassis number 718-047. For the 1962 season, the car got some changes and became known as the Porsche 718/8 W-RS Spyder. Out went the four cylinder and in came an eight-cylinder engine from the Porsche F1 race car (enlarged to 2 liters).
The chassis number 718-046 of a 1961 718 RS 61 Coupé was used for a new car called 718 GTR in 1962.. The Coupé version was developed from this RS 61 donor and was initially fitted with a 4-cylinder engine. This car was also upgraded to an 8-cylinder F1 derived engine which produced 210 horsepower (160 kW). The car was also fitted with disc brakes. A GTR Coupé driven Jo Bonnier and Carlo Maria Abate won the 1963 Targa Florio making it three wins at the event for a 718 car.

Porsche 718 Data & Research

We dig into some of the data surrounding the Porsche 718, including production numbers, specifications, chassis numbers and much more. The 718 variants were all mid-engined layout and used the 1.5-litre Type 547/3 quad-cam engine introduced in the 550A. There were also a handful of 8 cylinder engines added to special variants but that was largely the exception.

Porsche 718 Pictures, Galleries & Wallpapers

The successor to the 550 A Spyder, the 718 RSK improved in many respects. A space frame of seamless steel tubing provides high rigidity at a very low weight; the suspension and the drum brakes have undergone optimization. The aerodynamics were refined which is why the 718s look sleeker and tighter. Enjoy these galleries and pictures of various Porsche 718s.

Porsche 718 News & Updates

Recent auctions, awesome review videos and all the latest news and posts regarding anything to do with the Porsche 718.

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