• This Center-Seat Porsche 550 Spyder Is a Wonderful Unicorn

Oh, and its engine is gold plated, by the way

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Today, a Porsche 550 Spyder can easily fetch north of $4,000,000 at auction. The thing is, though, not everyone wants to own a factory-stock one and, at the same time, not everyone wants to sell a 550 Spyder.

Some guys, however, like to drive and own unique, custom-made vehicles. So, while the idea of a center-seat Porsche 550 Spyder might sound like utter blasphemy to the purists, when done properly, it can be nothing short of a work of art.

The Porsche 550 Spyder Is Special As Is, Let Alone Reinterpreted

This Center-Seat Porsche 550 Spyder Is a Wonderful Unicorn
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Porsche didn’t make a lot of 550 Spyders. In fact, production was capped at around 100 units, which translates to extremely high desirability.

Heck, even the great James Dean traded his Porsche 356 for the faster 550 Spyder back in 1955, mesmerized by the sports car’s four-cylinder, 110-horsepower boxer engine and its innate nimbleness - the car tipped the scales at 550 kilos (1,212 pounds) and, thus, could reach a top speed of 230 km/h (143 mph) with the pedal to the metal.

Porsche 550 Spyder specifications
Engine 1.5-liter flat-four cylinder
Horsepower 110 HP
Transmission synchronized four-speed manual
Weight 1,212 lbs
0 to 60 mph 7 seconds
Top Speed 230 km/h (143 mph)

But then again, some people want their cars to be different. John Sarkisyan, otherwise known for building his own Porsche 993 Speedster from a 993 Cabriolet and a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing using the now-defunct SLK as donor car, is the happy owner of a very special 550 Spyder.

As in, it has a center-mounted seat and steering wheel, with the e-brake lever and the gearbox shifter flanking the driver.

It also has a Singer-style, beautifully-crafted orange leather interior and hear this out: they needed 9 hides to fully cover the cabin in leather.

This Center-Seat Porsche 550 Spyder Is a Wonderful Unicorn
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Coming back to this build, however, what you’re seeing is a Mystic Brown metallic-painted all-fiberglass body kit seasoned with orange accents that hides a lot of re-located components, such as the gas tank, the shifter and e-brake, the pedals, and, obviously, the steering column.

Speaking of which, the steering wheel is a one-off build and check this out: the gauges are those of a 550 Spyder, but they sport the “Selfish” name, which is in fact how John nicknamed the car.

Now, we know you want to know more about the Type 4 air-cooled engine. It’s gold plated, of course, and it churns out 200 horsepower, twice as much as the original 550 Spyder. Even so, that might not sound like much by modern standards, but the whole car weighs less than 1,300 pounds. That said, we’re done talking. Check out the video below to find out more awesome details about this unique 550 Spyder.

Tudor Rus
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read full bio
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