Lot 137

2022   |   Pebble Beach Auctions

1959 Porsche 718 RSK

Coachwork by Wendler

Estimate

$4,500,000 - $5,500,000

Chassis

718-024

Car Highlights

One of Only 34 RSKs Built; Among the Finest Porsche Spyders Extant

Sold New to Famed American Racing Driver and Le Mans Winner Ed Hugus

Raced in 1959 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Distinctive “Lucybelle III” Livery

Campaigned in SCCA and USAC Events and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb from 1960–1963

Exceptional Award-Winning Restoration Performed by the Renowned Rare Drive Inc.

A Significant Opportunity for the Most Discerning Collectors

Technical Specs

1,498 CC Type 547/3 DOHC Air-Cooled Flat 4-Cylinder Engine

Twin Weber 46 IDA3 Carburetors

160 BHP at 7,800 RPM

5-Speed Manual Transaxle

4-Wheel Finned Alloy Drum Brakes

Front Independent Trailing-Arm Suspension with Coil-Over Shock Absorbers

Rear Independent Double-Wishbone Suspension with Coil-Overs

Register to Bid

David Brynan

Ed Hugus, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (acquired new in 1959)

Don W. Ives, Colorado Springs, Colorado (acquired from the above in 1960)

William B. Franklin, Sonoita, Arizona (acquired by 1978)

Don Orosco, Pebble Beach, California (acquired circa 1987)

Dr. Greg Johnson, Irvine, California (acquired from the above circa 1988)

Private Collection, US (acquired from the above in 1994)

Current Owner (acquired from the above)

24 Hours of Le Mans, 1959, Hugus/Erickson, No. 37 (DNF)

Phoenix Pacific Coast SCAM (BF Modified), May 1960, Ives (8th Overall)

Oklahoma La Petite GP, June 1960, Ives, No. 11 (2nd Overall)

SCCA National Continental Divide (B-F Modified), July 1960, Ives (5th Overall)

SCCA Regional Continental Divide (Main), August 1960, Ives (3rd Overall)

SCCA Regional Continental Divide (1-Hour), September 1960, Ives (5th Overall)

SCCA Pan American Region Carrera Del Norte, October 1960, Ives (1st in Class)

SCCA Divisional La Junta, May 1961, Ives (4th Overall)

SCCA Road America June Sprints, June 1961, Ives, No. 14 (DNA)

USAC Continental Divide, Heat 1, July 1961, Ives, No. 1 (10th Overall)

USAC Continental Divide, Heat 2, July 1961, Ives, No. 1 (7th Overall)

USAC Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, 1962, Ives, No. 1 (16 Minutes, 45 Seconds)

Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca, (1978, 1984, and 1986)

Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, 1998 (Road & Track Trophy)

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 2021 (Third in Class)

Audrain Newport Concours d’Elegance, Rhode Island, 2021 (First in Class)

Following on the success of the Type 550 program, Porsche unveiled the latest evolution of its lightweight, four-cam Spyder in 1957. Internally designated as Type 718, the RSK replaced the 550 A, a model that dominated its class and furthered Porsche’s reputation as a manufacturer of innovative sports racing cars. Visually, the RSK was more modern than its predecessor, with streamlined coachwork, faired-in headlamps, and lower aerodynamic drag. Beneath the beautiful aluminum skin, the RSK benefited from thorough development; it offered significantly more power, better braking, and improved suspension.

In 1958, the RSK took the racing world by storm. The new Spyder trounced the competition, winning its class and finishing on the podium at the 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Le Mans, and Targa Florio. The RSK’s most memorable performance took place at the 1959 Targa Florio, where a works-entered car won the race outright, leading Porsche’s 1-2-3 sweep at the legendary Sicilian event.

With the RSK, Porsche had a true giant-killer and an ideal foundation for future success. Although Porsche built just 34 examples of its Type 718 RSK, this important model set the tone for decades of dominance at the height of international sports car racing.

The RSK presented here, chassis 718-024, is an exceptional example of Porsche’s original Type 718 Spyder, possessing a rich period racing history, well-documented provenance, and an exquisite restoration performed by one of the foremost experts in the field.

Constructed at Werk 1, Porsche’s dedicated racing shop, in March 1959, 718-024 was built to the specifications of a privateer RSK and equipped with the improved 1500 cc Type 547/3 engine. According to factory records, it was originally supplied with engine no. 90216, transaxle no. 718-017, and Continental racing tires. Originally painted silver with beige upholstery, the Spyder was sold new to famous American race car driver Ed Hugus.

Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Hugus was a lifelong car enthusiast who established his own MG dealership, European Cars, in 1950. He joined the SCCA in 1951 and entered his first sports car race the following year. Starting with Jaguar XK120s, Hugus developed his driving skills and soon graduated to faster, more exotic machinery. Beginning in 1956, he competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for 10 consecutive years, winning the race overall in 1965 while driving a Ferrari 250 LM for Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team.

In 1957, he entered a Porsche 550 A finished in the traditional American racing colors – white with twin blue stripes – with “Lucybelle” written across the front fender. Lucybelle was the nickname of Lucille Davis, the wife of his well-heeled business partner Parker H. Davis, who regularly accompanied Hugus to Le Mans. For 1958, he returned with a new Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, painted in the same distinctive livery and christened it “Lucybelle II.” In 1959, Hugus ran this RSK as “Lucybelle III,” finished in white with thin blue stripes running the length of the car and a small red heart painted on the tail. As was done with the previous Lucybelles, 718-024 was quickly repainted white by a local body shop between practice and the race, so the dashboard, interior, and wheel wells were all still finished in Porsche silver.

Hugus’ Le Mans co-driver for 1959 was Ernie Erickson from Chicago. A regular in the SCCA Midwest Division throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Erickson raced a variety of sports cars and earned himself the nickname “King of Wilmot” for his winning record at the Wilmot Hills circuit in Wisconsin.

Wearing race no. 37, Hugus and Erickson got off to a strong start and maintained a steady pace through the night. By the 19th hour, the RSK was the best-placed Porsche, running 1st in Class and 4th Overall, but it was forced to retire in the 20th hour with a broken crankshaft. Notably, no Porsche finished the 24-hour race in 1959, all withdrawing due to some form of engine failure.

After Le Mans, 718-024 remained in Europe for several months. Before it was shipped to the US, Porsche borrowed Hugus’ RSK for a special ceremony celebrating factory driver Edgar Barth, who had recently captured the 1959 FIA European Hill Climb Championship.

Soon after its arrival in the US, the RSK was sold to Don Ives, a sports car enthusiast who had recently moved from Hawaii to Colorado. During 1960 and 1961, Ives actively raced the Porsche, most often campaigning it at the Continental Divide circuit between Denver and Colorado Springs. In 1962, he drove the RSK at the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, recording a time of 16 minutes, 45 seconds; the following year, Ives finished 4th Overall at Aspen Raceways.

In the 1970s, William Franklin of Sonoita, Arizona, acquired 718-024, restored it, and entered it in vintage events including the Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca, where it appeared at least three times between 1978 and 1986. In the late 1980s, Franklin sold the RSK to noted collector and vintage racer Don Orosco of Pebble Beach, California. Dr. Greg Johnson of Irvine, California, was the car’s next owner, and he also campaigned the RSK in vintage events. In 1994, the Porsche joined a major US-based private collection, which was comprised of the finest European sports and racing cars. Other than an appearance at the 1998 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, where it was awarded the Road & Track trophy, 718-024 remained hidden from the public eye.

The current owner, a private East Coast collector, acquired the RSK at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions in 2018. Intrigued by the Porsche’s early history, he commissioned Mark Allin of Rare Drive Inc. to faithfully restore this historic RSK back to its original glory.

Highly regarded for exacting, high-quality restorations of significant competition cars, the team at Rare Drive approached this project with a keen attention to detail, first conducting extensive research to ensure the car presented exactly as it raced at Le Mans in 1959.

To begin with, the body was stripped to bare metal so that it could be properly assessed. Finding that the Wendler-built aluminum coachwork was essentially all original and intact, the decision was made to leave it in place on the RSK’s tubular frame so that all the factory welds and construction techniques could be preserved. From there, the car was painted silver and fully assembled, then refinished in white lacquer paint, just as it would have been painted prior to Le Mans.

Mechanically, the RSK was painstakingly restored to factory standards, with Rare Drive rebuilding the transaxle as well as the fuel, braking, and electrical systems. Meanwhile, a correct type 547/3 engine, recently rebuilt by renowned German four-cam guru Karl Hloch, was sourced at considerable expense and installed in the Spyder.

As the restoration effort concluded, numerous period photographs and a copy of the Le Mans Carnet de Pesage were carefully studied so that all the finest details could be faithfully restored, down to the hand-lettered Lucybelle III script, ARCF stickers, and Le Mans scrutineering stamp. Throughout the process, every effort was made to source rare original components, like the rarely seen soft top, factory Spyder mirror, Marchal driving lights, correct tool roll, jack, and 16" alloy-rimmed wheels.

Since the restoration was completed in 2021, this RSK has been shown selectively. Upon its debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, it was awarded Third in Class, followed soon after by a First in Class at the Audrain Newport Concours d’Elegance. Today, the RSK presents in pristine, show-quality condition in all respects. Furthermore, it performs as a Porsche Spyder should, delivering a thrilling experience with impressive power, outstanding brakes, and exceptional handling.

Widely regarded by enthusiasts as the most beautiful of all the four-cam Spyder variants, the 718 RSK is a magnificent expression of Porsche’s small-displacement sports racing car. Raced with success against much larger sports cars from Aston Martin, Ferrari, Jaguar, and Maserati, the RSK was beloved by its drivers and feared by its rivals.

Delivered new to motor sports hero Ed Hugus and campaigned in American racing colors at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959, 718-024 went on to compile an enviable competition record, competing in various SCCA and USAC events through the early 1960s, even taking part in the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Later owned and vintage-raced by several prominent collectors, this remarkably original and well-documented RSK has been returned to its former splendor – exquisitely and sensitively restored to an exceptional standard by one of the very best firms in the business.

Gooding & Company is proud to present this historic, beautiful, and impeccably restored Porsche 718 RSK, a truly magnificent example of one of the era’s finest sports racing cars.