1955 Porsche 550 RS Spyder
Pilots: G. Olivier, J. Jeser
Team: Gustave Olivier
Race: 18th overall (7th in S 1.5 class) at Le Mans in 1955
Brumm - R263 (feces)
With only 78 ever built, the 550 was Porsche’s first purebred racing car. The engine was a very reliable 1498 cm³ flat-4 with 16 valves, DOHC and a 110 hp output. The car debuted at Le Mans in 1953 as a coupe, and on its first year scored a class win. In 1954 the RS Spyder was developed, and once again Porsche scored another class win at La Sarthe.
The next year, with six cars among privateers plus the works team, the 550 scored one last class win. For 1956 the much improved 550A replaced it. This 550 RS Spyder #65 (chassis #550-0016) was one of the last 550 to race at La Sarthe. Unfortunately, it only managed a 7th place in its class.
This 550 RS Spyder surprised me. Definitively the worse 1:43 I ever saw in my life. I knew it was bad – in fact, Brumm has pictures of it on their site, with missing headlights and all. But the level of crappiness blew me away. The paint job is horrendous, could only have been worse if done with a mop, and the chrome is terrible. It’s an absolute turd. So I would say there are bad 1:43s and then there’s this 550 – hors concours. If James Dean called his car “Little Bastard” this model is the “Little Turd”. Certainly the only thing missing is the smell. I’m really impressed, to the point I would like to display it in a transparent acrylic chamber pot, but alas, so far I only found those normal enameled metal ones. Pity, it deserved a proper display venue so that it’s crappiness could be better appreciated.
Worse of all is the fact that Brumm can do some REALLY nice models. So I guess they really wanted this 550 to be turd.
Being honest, I thought about throwing this model in the trash. At least five times. Not only does it suck moose balls, I was kind of mislead when I bought it. So every time I looked at it I had these negative urges. But I thought to myself “Self, what if we make it less hideous?”. And that (DEFINITIVELY) meant putting headlights on it, of course. So I got a donator (a “Lil’ Bastard” 550 pw model), took both apart and removed the headlights.
The problem was that the darn thing didn’t fit in the #65 😣. The solution would be to trim down the headlight housing until only the rim was left.
So with a sharp knife I basically carved the lip off the chrome headlight assembly. In about five minutes I had only the rim of the headlight, ready to install.
For the second one I got smart and cut the rim while the lens and stem were still in there. That sped up the process considerably, and this one took me just about two minutes.
With both cut it was gluing time. Cyanoacrylate glues (superglue) can fog-up clear parts and even paint, so it’s dicey to use. So instead I used modeler’s clear glue (Testors), the one used for windshields and aircraft canopies. I first glued the lenses to the rims and then glued the whole headlight in each socket.
And here’s the final result. Have I made a nice model from a turd? Hell no! My base material was a turd. Turds will always be turds, no matter how you try to make ’em pretty. To really fix a turd you would need high level sorcery and a good Philosopher’s Stone (very hard to find on eBay). However, it looks a little less bad now. The model is still terrible, but now at least it’s not too offensive to look at.
In other words, maybe (maybe!) it won’t end up in the trash bin 🙄.