It isn’t the most significant Porsche headed to Monterey in August—that would be the 1939 Type 64 at RM Sotheby’s—but the 1959 Porsche 718 RSK “Center-Seat” Spyder that’s scheduled to cross the block at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge Auction on August 15 is definitely a big deal.
Developed from the iconic 550 Spyder, the 718 RSK was Porsche’s effort to pursue sports car racing and Formula 2. The model is significant in that it could be configured as either left-hand drive or center steering. The 718 RSK received its K designation through the adoption of revised torsion bars bearing a K shape.
According to Bonhams, chassis #718-028 was the overall winner at the 1959 Gran Prix de Léopoldville in central Africa, driven by German Christian Goethals. It also won the 1000KM Buenos Aires. The matching-numbers car retains its original coachwork by Wendler.
“The 718 RSK built on the success of the earlier 550A with wins against larger, more powerful cars, and it is a hugely important part of Porsche’s early racing history,” says Hagerty valuation editor Andrew Newton. “Any time one comes to market, people pay close attention.”
Fewer than 40 RSK models were built in 1959, and each received a DOHC four-cylinder engine ranging in size from 1.5 to 1.7 liters, rated at 148–160 horsepower, and mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Bonhams gives no other details about #718-028—expect more information to be revealed as the Quail event draws near. Potential bidders are asked to call for an estimate.
For comparison, 1959 718 RSK chassis #718-024 sold for $3.74 million at Gooding & Company’s 2018 Pebble Beach auction, while #718-023 went for $3.3M at Gooding’s 2014 Amelia Island event, and #718-019 sold for $2.86M at Gooding’s 2016 Amelia auction.
“Given that the going rate for 718 RSKs lately has been in the high $2M to high $3M range, it’s reasonable to expect a similar result from this car,” Newton says. “Then again, given that it has a major international win (Buenos Aires) to its credit, it may bring a little bit more.”
Both as a survivor of Porsche history and a stunningly beautiful example of late-’50s racing design, this RSK deserves a happy new home.