Robb Design Portfolio: Silver Streak: Porsche RS60

  • Christian Gulliksen

Porsche became a dominant force on the racetrack during the mid-1950s with its splendid 550 and 550A. (The lightweight cars also gained notoriety outside of the racing world when actor James Dean perished in an accident while at the wheel of his 550.) The company followed up on the success of these cars with the RSK, a 1,000-pound racecar powered initially by a 1.5-liter flat-four engine producing 142 hp. (Displacement eventually rose to 1.6 liters and horsepower to 165.) The RSK evolved into the RS60 and RS61—the numerals in their names refer to the years in which they were built. Campaigned both by the factory and by private teams, these cars performed impressively at major races in the early 1960s.

This RS60’s racing history—documented on the driver’s-side fender and door—reveals an illustrious provenance. Jo Bonnier, Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, and Edgar Barth were among the drivers who piloted the car at racetracks such as Le Mans, Sebring, the Targa Florio, and the Nürburgring in 1960 and 1961. Barth’s son, Jurgen, himself a Le Mans victor for Porsche, drove the RS60 at Laguna Seca in 1982.

The lines of the mid-engine racecar are unmistakably Porsche, a throwback to an era when the design of road-going automobiles closely resembled their competitive counterparts. Just 35 examples of the coveted RS60 and RS61 were produced, and Sports Car Market estimates that collectors will part with $500,000 to $700,000 for either rarity.

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