There’s nothing quite as difficult as following up your own success, but when it decided to build a successor to the Type 550 Spyder, Porsche ended up making the legendary 718 RSK.
More streamlined and modern than the 550 Spyder, the new model featured faired-in headlights and less aerodynamic drag to hold back its 1,498 cc flat-four engine that made 160 hp (119 kW/162 PS).
The result was a bona fide race winner. After being introduced in 1958, it won its class at the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Targa Florio. Its greatest success was yet to come, though, as, in 1959, it finished first, second, and third at the Targa Florio, winning not just its class, but the entire race.
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It’s hardly surprising, then, that customer racers from around the world were lining up to buy the car. This particular example, 718-024, was constructed at Werk 1, Porsche‘s race shop, in March of 1959 and sold to Ed Hugus.
A successful racer based in Pittsburgh, he had started racing in 1951 after opening a dealership that imported MGs. By 1956, he competed in Le Mans for the first time and, in 1959, took this car to the race.
Sharing driving duties with Ernie Erickson, they were leading their class, and were in fourth place overall when, in the race’s 20th hour, the crankshaft broke, forcing the team to retire from the race in which no Porsche finished. Hugus did eventually end up winning Le Mans in 1965, at the wheel of a Ferrari 250 LM, for what would end up being Ferrari’s last victory at the French endurance race.
Before that, though, this Porsche 718 RSK was sold to Don Ives, who raced the car frequently and took it up the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 1962, recording a time of 16 minutes, 45 seconds.
In 2018, it was purchased by its current owner, who decided it needed a thorough restoration and handed it over to the team at Rare Drive. Taking time to make decisions like leaving the coachwork in place to preserve its factory welds, the team conducted a sympathetic restoration to return it to its original condition.
The color scheme was chosen to reflect Hugus’s own decisions. For competition, the car was painted white with blue stripes, the traditional American racing colors. It also features the name “Lucybelle III” and a small red heart painted on the tail. This made it the third in a series of racecars named after Lucille Davis, the wife of his business partner, Parker Davis, who frequently joined Hugus on his trips to Le Mans.
The car is now being offered for sale at Gooding and Company’s Pebble Beach sale. Estimates suggest that it will go for between $4.5 and $5.5 million.