Porsche 718/8 W-RS Spyder #28 – Spark

1961 Porsche 718/8 W-RS Spyder #28
Pilots: H. Linge, E. Barth
Team: Porsche System Engineering
Race: 8th overall (1st in P 2.0 class) at Le Mans in 1963
Spark - S1349 (resin) 

Published 12/20/19

In the racing world, nothing can stand static for long. So even though the 550A was a success, Porsche needed a replacement. And to fill the 550A’s shoes, in 1957 came the 718 RSK. The “RS” meant RennSport and the “K” came from the shape of the car’s torsion-bar suspension. For a chassis the 718 had a space frame made of stainless tubes, covered by an aluminum body. The car’s engine, mounted at midships, was the Typ 547/3 boxer-4 inherited from the 550A. Initially it had a displacement of 1498 cm³ and with DOHC delivered 142 hp. Doesn’t sound outstanding, but since the car only weighed 570 kg, it granted a pretty good performance.

Not a 550 and not a 904 – it’s the 718.

Despite the 718 RSK’s success, Porsche continued developing the car. And one thing that could make the car better was a bigger engine. For this reason the engineering department took the engine used in Porsche’s F1 program and enlarged it. But to accommodate the new engine, the body of the car had to be wider. With that, Porsche released the 718/8 W-RS Spyder. The W-RS used Stuttgart’s Typ 771 engine. From their F1 program, the Typ 771 was a 1981 cm³ boxer-8 that fed by four carburetors produced 240 hp. The chassis didn’t change, and it used the same tubular steel space frame setup with an aluminum body. However, because of the bigger engine, the car weighed 640 kg.

Does look like a hillclimber, doesn’t it?

The 718/8 W-RS Spyder debuted in 1962, basically as a hillclimb machine. And the car delivered, bringing Porsche the European Hillclimb Championship in 1963. With so many good results, Porsche tried the car at La Sarthe that year. For the 24 Heures du Mans of 1963 Porsche had a diverse fleet. The factory team consisted of two 356B Carrera, one 718 GT Coupe and one 718/8 W-RS Spyder. The W-RS Spyder was #28 (chassis #718-047), and it came in eighth place overall and first in the P 2.0 class. Interestingly, chassis #718-047 came to be in 1961 as a 718 RS 61 that was converted to W-RS specs in 1962.

Usually I’m not a big fan of Spark’s cockpits, but this one is VERY good.

Being honest, I don’t find the 718 very attractive. It’s kind of a bridge between the 550 and the 904, so at least in my eyes, the lines are a bit awkward. My personal aesthetic tastes notwithstanding, the car is a winner. Therefore, it’s important to the W-143 Garage. A typical GOOD Spark, there isn’t much to say about the model other than it’s a GOOD Spark. As always, you know what to expect from Spark and this is one more model to prove the rule.

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