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Old 14 October 2015, 08:05 PM
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Casey Casey is offline
Join Date: 15 December 2003
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 7,338

Originally Posted by Roadsterboy View Post
There is or was a long thread over at Pelican Parts about this car. The wreck was sold to an LA-area doctor, who pulled the engine and put it into a Lotus IX (this car still exists and shows the modifications needed to install the Porsche engine. The same family also still has the engine). The transmission was sold on (and exists today). A few suspension bits were salvaged.

The famous display car was built by George Barris, who was given (or otherwise acquired) the rear clamshell and front hood from the Dean car and attached them to a vaguely Porsche shaped wreck to create the display. Comparing photos of the wreck to the one photo of the display that seems to exist bear this out, as those two pieces are the only things that bear any resemblance to the vehicle in the accident scene photos. One theory is that the basis of the display is a different Porsche that was known to have been in the Barris shop at the same time. Either way it's fairly obvious that the display car isn't the same as the wrecked car.

Most likely, the original car was recycled - it contained a lot of aluminum, and SoCal was, at the time, the center of American aerospace manufacturing. Aluminum could always be sold.
Sold, and likely reused and sold again. Aluminum, particularly during that era, was an expensive commodity. I've always figured the crash itself was a combination of carelessness (Don't worry, he has to have seen us) and a whole lot of power in a dinky little car.

The 550 Spyder was 110HP in a 1300 pound car, pretty impressive in 1955. Very light, lots of power. 0.084HP/pound, which is insane.

For comparison, the famed Mercedes 300SL from the same year was 212HP, but weighed 2900 pounds, so 0.07HP/pound. No slouch in competition, the racing-spec version won at Le Mans, the Panamericana rally, and others. Buckets of power, but for pure power/weight ratio, nothing came close to the Spyder.

The Spyder was a rocket on a rollerskate. Nothing even really came close until the Shelby Cobra 10 years later at 2300 pounds, 425HP, 0.184HP/pound (a dream car, but I can dream...). Even the current monster, the 707HP Dodge Charger Hellcat is 4365 pounds- 0.161HP/pound. More raw power, but an extra ton of weight to carry.
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