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