Porsche 718 RS60 #39 – Spark

1960 Porsche 718 RS60 #39
Pilots: E. Barth, W. Seidel
Team: Porsche AG
Race: 11th overall (1st in S 1.6 class) at Le Mans in 1960
Spark - S9727 (resin)

Published 07/12/23

Designed by Wilhelm Hild, Porsche produced the 718 RSK spyder model from 1957 to 1962. The 718 was the evolution of their very successful 550A, mainly with improvements to the body and suspension. The K in the name is because of the shape of the car’s revised torsion-bar front suspension. And not because it had a Kurz (“short”) tail. On the rear, it used Watt-linkage coil springs over telescopic shock absorbers. The chassis was a steel tubular space frame design, covered by an aluminum body. Powering the 718 was the Typ 547/3, a 4-cylinder boxer displacing 1448 cm³. With DOHC and placed at midships, the boxer-4 delivered 148 hp (110.4 kW). Without fluids, the 718 RSK only weighed 570 kg – it was very light, therefore with a great power-to-weight ratio. However, FIA would not allow Porsche to keep the car as it was for long.

Because of the new sports car rules, the 718 RS60 had room for a suitcase.

In 1960, FIA wanted sports-racing cars to become closer to normal road cars. To that end, they modified Appendix C rules (sports cars) to be more similar to Appendix J (GT cars). Therefore, the 718 needed a wider cockpit, wider and taller windshield, bigger doors and room allocated for the “FIA suitcase”. Porsche complied and modified the car, producing the 718 RS60. To accommodate the bigger interior, Porsche increased the length and width of the tubular steel chassis. Moreover, they also installed a bigger engine, the Typ 547/4. The new engine was also a boxer-4, displacing 1587 cm³ and producing 166 hp (122 kW). Porsche produced 19 units, and the car was a winner. It won the Targa Florio, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the European Hill Climb Championship in 1960 and 1961.

The 1960 Le Mans race was pretty good for Porsche.

At the 24 Heures du Mans of 1960, Porsche arrived with a fleet of four works cars. Three were RS60 and one was a 356B Carrera Abarth GTL (GT 1.6 class). There were also two 718 RSK piloted by privateers. Of the three RS60, cars #33 and #34 abandoned before the halfway point. Yet, RS60 #39 here (chassis #718-042) finished in 11th overall and first in the Sports 1.6 class. And to make the folks at Stuttgart even happier, their 356B Carrera Abarth #35 also came first in class. 

Porsche 718: when Stuttgart said “they don’t need to look good, just go fast”.

Released in early 2023, as expected, in 1:43 scale Spark crafted a winner. The detail level is at Spark’s usual top notch quality, and the model looks perfect. Even so, the thing is dog-ugly – the worse looking Porsche ever 😝? Well, even though it may not win any beauty contest, in a 1:43 collection this RS60 #39 looks fantastic.

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