August 5, 2010

Rare 1959 Porsche 718/2 RSK Spyder gets hosed by StopTech

A super rare 1959 Porsche 718/2 RSK Spyder, one of only four built with center steering, is now graced with a set of custom-made stainless steel brake hoses from StopTech, the ultra-performance division of Centric Parts.

Ansite Inc, a well known Southern California service and restoration facility specializing in Porsche 356 models, turned to Centric Parts on behalf of the vehicle's owner upon discovering no replacement hoses were available for this vintage ride.

Graem Elliot and Robbie Pyle at Centric Parts, part of the company's unofficial in-house Porsche fanatics group, jumped into action and found all the component parts required to produce a stainless braided hose set for the RSK. Production drawings were made and 3 days after the original quote was received, the custom RSK stainless braided lines were completed.

The 1959 Porsche 718/2 RSK Spyder was designed with centre steering so it could be used as a sportscar and a single seater. Based on the 550 series, Porsche's first purpose built racing car, the 718 was initially developed for the 1957 race season with a new body design that was both lower and smoother than that of its predecessors.

After a lackluster debut season, much time was spent improving the RSK. Front suspension was reworked and dramatic changes were made at the rear, where for the first time in Porsche history, the traditional swing-axle design was discarded. The modifications proved to be highly successful as the new Porsches were the fastest cars in their class. By 1959, the further refined RSK was even more successful with an overall win at the Targa Florio and a podium finish at the Sebring 12 Hours.

Thanks to the central location of the steering box needed to accommodate these design revisions, the RSK could easily be converted to single seater specifications. In 1959 Porsche built four special RSKs for customers, plus one for the racing team, that could be easily converted to single seater specification. Mounting points were designed to simplify moving the steering wheel, seat and pedals from the left side of the car to the center.

Now, over fifty years later, one of them comes to a stop with the help of some 21st century technology and know-how from Centric Parts.

Here is a link to a story about these cars in Autoweek.