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tomo

1958 Porsche 718 RSK

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Description

Porsche built the first 718 RSK prototype in 1957. It was an evolution of their first tube- framed race car, the 550A RS, gaining its name from the K-shaped arrangement of the front torsion bar tubes on the prototype car.

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The factory team entered RSKs in the major international sports car races of 1958 and 1959 where they were dominant in their class, as well as often beating much larger-engined Ferraris, Aston Martins and Jaguars.

The Works car differed significantly from the customer model. They were continually revised as the factory sought to extract maximum performance and have many distinguishing features including an attractive longer nose, external air duct and red trim.

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718-004 was built in May 1958 and was used by the Works team at the Le Mans 24 hours race.

It was a hugely significant race for Porsche, with one of the other Works cars finishing in third place overall, Porsche’s first ever overall podium at la Sarthe. 004 failed to finish the race after an incident with a Ferrari.

The factory used the car for the rest of the season in various high profile events before selling it in January 1959 to Anton von Dory, Porsche’s representative in Argentina and a successful amateur racer.

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Von Dory would race the car at the Sebring 12 Hours before going on to achieve an outright win at the inaugural international sports car race at Daytona, the 1,000km, the predecessor to the Daytona 24 Hours.

Von Dory continued to race the car before selling it to Daniel de Magalhaes, a wealthy Portuguese amateur, at the 1960 Cuban Grand Prix. De Magaelhaes raced the car internationally for several years before selling it to his friend Carlos Faustino.

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The car ended its racing career with Faustino in Portugal around 1967 and was discovered still wearing its original number plates in a Portuguese garage in the late 1970s. It then found its way via Jean-Francois Dumontant to the renowned Rosso Bianco collection. When the Rosso Bianco collection was broken up in 2008, 718-004 was sold with a large number of other cars to the Louwman Museum and from there it passed to the current owner in 2009.

By 2013, the car was fully restored by German specialists whence the current owner used it sparingly, on the road and in a selection of events, alongside his two Porsche 550 Spyders.

The car is in excellent, race ready condition now.

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The spaceframe chassis is original and fitted with the correct type of engine (547/2), one of only [30] built by the factory. The gearbox is the correct type for an RSK, with the unusual dog leg first gear to the left and forwards.

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The car retains the surface oil cooling bonnet design (albeit unconnected) that denoted the Works cars. The car has many other original RSK components, such as the main suspension, brakes and fuel tank.

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This car puts you in the seat of giants. Any ex-Le Mans car is special, but this little car was part of the team for that all-important 1958 race before going on to win one of the two biggest palmares in US contemporary racing.

Being a Porsche racer, it works very well. No real histrionics and strong, usable performance. 150bhp in a 560 kg car is plenty and it’s easy to see why this car was so successful – the model also won the Targa Florio in 1959. The Carrera engine is lusty and thrives on high revs.

Opportunities to buy ex-Works four-cam cars are rare indeed. 

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Well it was a waste of time editing that.

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Tomo, I have been in the VERY fortunate position of driving one of these, the first 4 cam motor powered car I had ever driven. The sound of the intake was amazing! It was a ginger drive along a motorway skirting Zurich, then onto a couple of B roads through some lovely Swiss countryside. A mutual friend put me in touch with the owner, knowing I was a Porsche nut. One of those memorable pinch yourself moments to always look back on.

The car was an amazing experience, and I did not feel even a little disappointed that there was a 917 in the garage next to it, when the owner opened his warehouse, and we went driving the 718. I am eternally grateful that he shared it with me, and I was behind the wheel for the better part of 45 minutes! I think he really got a kick out of someone else appreciating it as much as he did. It was a bit of a teary moment for me too, admittedly, as I never thought I'd ever get this type of opportunity, to drive such an important part of Porsche motorsport history. Even looking back at it now, some 5 years ago, it still stirs me.

What was surprising to me with the car was that it drove as good as it looked, and I think they look wonderful. 

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