The Porsche 550 saw production from 1953 through 1956 as both a spyder and a coupe model. Both models saw use primarily in racing, but they also saw limited sale in the public. The most famous 550 was James Deans’ “Little Bastard,” which ended up being the car that he was killed in.
Despite its somber history, the 550 is one of the most desired Porsches, garnering upwards of $3.7 million for the 550-01 – the first 550 built. Well, not every car buff has multiple millions of dollars, but just about every one wants to get his or her hands on the 550-01. Vintech has solved this quandary by releasing its P550 Tribute – “P550” standing for “Porsche 550,” of course.
Many tribute cars end up being complete failures and do more damage than good, and the 550 is one tough car to mimic. So how does Vintech’s version stack up?
Click past the jump to find out.
Vintech is clear in making this into a tribute car and not a replica car, as you can tell that this is not quite identical to the original 550-01 that it is based on. The first major difference is that the P500’s headlights rack rearward slightly, where the 550-01’s circular headlights are straight up and down. The large, smooth hood on the P550 is secured by a modern latching system, whereas the 550-01 used a leather strap system to secure its hood.
Being from the early-1950s, the 550-01 did not have any side-view mirrors, but the P550 uses dual side-view mirrors, keeping it legal with all of the new safety laws. A huge difference on the P550 car is that the doors are gull-wing style and the 550-01 does not have this cool feature. Just behind the doors, you get a large air intake duct, whereas the 550-01 had just a louver system.
The rims on the P550 tribute are an obvious attempt to pay homage to the original model’s steel rims, but they feature a more modern curvature to them.
The back end of the P550 model boasts a single taillight assembly, unlike the 550’s dual taillight system. In addition, to add to its more modern feel, Vintech fitted the P550 with a set of bumper-exiting dual exhaust pipes, as opposed to the center-exit, under-bumper exhaust exit on the 550-01.
Another head nod to the original 550-01 is that Vintech fitted a set of engine cooling louvers on the rear of the car, just like the original 550-01.
Staying true to the original, Vintech made sure that the P550 was extremely lightweight. Its carbon fiber body weighs in at only 1,212 lbs. That is the exact same curb weight that the original 550-01 boasted. Now that is an incredible feat.
There is very little information given about the interior of the Vintech P550. We know that it has a triple-gauge dashboard and the dashboard is gray. Other than that, your guess is as good as ours.
Engine and Transmission
This is where Vintech really eliminated the P550’s connection to the Porsche 550. Vintech fitted this car with a 3.0-liter, 4-cylinder boxer powerplant that pumps out about 270 horsepower. This links up to a 5-speed manual transmission that ships power to the rear wheels. The 550-01 boasted a 1.488-liter, 4-cylinder engine that pumped out just 78 horsepower through a 4-speed manual transmission.
We say it’s safe to assume that the Vintech P550 is a screamer that likely hits 60 mph in the 4-second range.
When Can I Get One
The Vintech P550 will debut at The Quail: A Motorsport Gathering on August 17th at the Pebble Beach Concours. There is no announcement yet on its release date, production numbers, or pricing. We are expecting a price range in excess of $150,000 and production in the sub-100-unit range.
Overall, we love this tribute car. Vintech did a great job paying homage to the 550-01 without trying to copy it completely. We wish there was a little bit more information to give you, but we’re going to have to hold off until its August 17th debut.
- Great job with the tribute without copying
- 4.4 pounds per horsepower is amazing
- Gull-wing doors are a great touch
- No interior information
- No torque numbers
- Who builds the engine?