MADE famous by its motorsport success, and known somewhat infamously for the fatal crash involving James Dean, the Porsche 550 Spyder is a rare gem. In fact, only 90 of them were built.
First and foremost, the 550 Spyder was designed as a super-light racecar inspired by the 356. Its 1.5-litre boxer four-pot might have only been endowed with about 81kW, but given it was taxed with a spaceframe chassis weighing just 590kg, it was a force to be reckoned with. So much so that it gained the nickname ‘Giant Killer’ long before Dean branded his ‘Little Bastard’.
We’d take design cues from the original – like a frameless windscreen and open cockpit – but add some visual menace with stripes, a Cayman GT4 rear wing and the GT4 Clubsport’s wheels.
Given the extra weight, sticking the force-fed flat-six out of the Carrera GTS should solve that ill.
Porsche has form with this type of car, releasing the 981 Boxster Spyder in 2015. But we think there’s room for something like the raw, back-to-basics 911 R, combining both the past and present for the ultimate Boxster.
WEIGHT is an issue here. Slotting in the twin-turbo Carrera GTS engine, with its 331kW/550Nm, would go a long way to combating that and would result in a 0-100km/h time in the high threes. The boosted 3.0-litre flat-six, despite not howling like the atmo 3.8-litre (think Cayman GT4), would also spice up the acoustics, with the largely unloved flat-four from the 718 shafted.
With an extensive array of mechanical goodies to choose from, the Boxster R deserves to be fully kitted out. Adaptive dampers and configurable drive modes will allow for tailored driving dynamics while rear-wheel steer could be pinched from the GT3. Seats and racing harnesses nabbed from the GT cars are also a must, as are some sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres for ultimate grip.
While the Boxster R wouldn’t be underpinned by a spaceframe chassis like its forebear, the Boxster R would need to tip the scales at less than 1300kg. Stripping the interior of luxuries, but offering them as no-cost options to replace, ties into the road and race heritage of the 550 Spyder.
The original attracted the attention of mega movie stars and race drivers alike, so we’d add some visual drama. A flameless windscreen, bulbous rollover hoops, tasteful decals and black Clubsport wheels help add appeal to the eye.
With Porsche’s unwillingness for the Cayman and Boxster to step on the toes of the 911, pricing for the Boxster R would have to sit around the $200K mark in six-speed manual guise.