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If during the 50's there were fiberglass boat hulls, the Brooks Boxer in 1951, and Chevrolet was making a fiberglass body Corvette in 1953, why wasn't a Porsche 550 spyder made in fiberglass in 1955?
Did the volume level of Chevrolet have fiberglass more affordable or higher quality back then compared to the hand molded aluminum of Porsche?
What changed Porsche's mind to make the 904 in fiberglass?



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I would venture to say fiberglass technology in the 50's and 60's was still a burgeoning industry with a steep learning curve.

1964 in high school, my old 7'6'' Bing Surfboard weighed as much as a tank with rails like a stand-up paddle board. In those days (before the advent of surfboard leashes) I always had to chase that bad boy down whenever I fell off (which was more often than not). Needless to say it got banged up very easily and was totally waterlogged after one season of surfing. Paid $20 back in the day...recently saw a similar era board at a Longboarders Club meet for $1,750. YIKES!

I cringe at the thought (and death-defying danger) of being in a FG Spyder banging fenders with bigger race cars during 50's or 60's races.

I think weight had a lot to do with it. Early fiberglass was fairly heavy.  A 1955 corvette weighed 2700lbs, a 1955 550 weighed 1500lbs.  Granted, some of that difference is engine, but it's significant for performance.

Add to that the "cool" factor.  The soldiers back from WW2 knew that state-of-the-art fighter planes and rocket ships were built with aluminum.  Chuck Yeager had just broken the sound barrier in an aluminum X-1, not a fiberglass one.


Last edited by Theron
@DannyP posted:

In reality, a 550 Spyder weighed 550 kilos(where the name came from). A little over 1200 pounds.

I think "550" was derived by assignment of a sequentially numbered Porsche design, nothing to do with vehicle weight.  550 was just the next number up in sequence, nothing more mystical than that.

Edit:  For example, 00:30 in this video

Last edited by RS-60 mark

Different sources give different numbers but I think the first customer 550s weighed around 1350 dry, over 1450 wet, and the later high-rail version was a little heavier. Closer to 1500 than 1200.

The 550A was legit closer to 1200 dry.

The Corvette was never in that league, and was aimed more at Jaguar and other big-bore players, and tried to out-power them. A C-Type weighed in at a bit more than 2100 lbs. Which was hardly more than the MG TD!

Last edited by edsnova
@DannyP posted:

Thanks for the correction. I guess that CO-inky-dink 550 number is just that.

Cheers, Danny.

Maybe something that's more of a numerically connectable CO-inky-dink with the "550" is the "547" Fuhrman twin-cam design project that was numbered at about the same time (but developed separately). Co-inky-dinkally, when each project found the other, their fame became mutually codependent.

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