1954 Porsche 550 Spyder. On par with the Targa Florio and Mille Miglia, the Carrera Panamerica was the finishing trifecta of endurance rally on the world’s automotive racing stage of the 1950s. Many manufacturers wanted to prove their machinery on these grueling tests of endurance and Porsche was no different. 1954 would sadly be the last year for the original event in which Porsche would take a class win in the under 1500cc sports car class and third overall with Hans Hermann at the helm, a relatively new face to the world’s stage of racing at that time.

The 1952 overall winner of the Carrera Panamerica 300SL driven by Karl Kling, who would later become a team mate of Hans Hermann during his stint with Mercedes in the late 50s.

The 1952 overall winner of the Carrera Panamerica 300SL driven by Karl Kling, who would later become a team mate of Hans Hermann during his stint with Mercedes in the late 50s.

This early variation of the 550 Spyder is absolutely gorgeous, Auto Art did this car very admirable justice in recreating it in 1:18th scale. The details are astounding, proportions perfect. The early 550s with their upright headlights and finned rear quarters scream 50s styling which would soon be lost in following later versions that we are more familiar with. The primary colors of sponsors logos plays off the Carrera Silver paint beautifully. Powered by a robust 1500cc twin cam, dual carbureted boxer engine, these aluminum bodied mid-engine lightweights were little giant killers that could easily propel them beyond 100mph. They could stop just as well sporting oversized aluminum finned drum brakes that filled the slotted steel wheels.

The variations between model years are more noticeable with the late models having sloped headlights, a full windscreen and subdued fins. Driver’s farring was more common styling addition on endurance models.

The variations between model years are more noticeable with the late models having sloped headlights, a full windscreen and subdued fins. Driver’s farring was more common styling addition on endurance models.

This post could not be finished without honoring this cars wheel man, Hans Hermann. His career is quite impressive with his ability to survive astonishing. He is, along with the likes of Stirling Moss, one of the only surviving drivers from an era when drivers were not even expected to live one season. He’s participated in many forms of racing from sports cars to formula one. Though perhaps not as well known as Moss he is most notably known for his 1970 24 Hours of Le Man’s win where he assisted Porsche in their very first overall win of the event in the red and white Salzburg 917. Ironically, this was his last major motorsport event as a promise he had made to his wife. Truly a great driver and a legend in his own right.

A beginning and end to the impressive career of Hans Hermann and his time with Porsche.

A beginning and end to the impressive career of Hans Hermann and his time with Porsche.

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