Porsche unveiled a plethora of previously unseen concepts back in November 2020, but this little roadster wasn’t one of them. Conceived in 2008, the 550one was commissioned by former Volkswagen Group supremo Ferdinand Piëch as a modern-day tribute to James Dean’s Porsche 550 Spyder. Walter de Silva, the man behind the 550one’s design, took to Instagram to release images of the retro-flavoured sports car.
The 21st-century “Little Bastard” was kept a secret all these years and took the shape of a mid-engined roadster with design cues like the air intakes and central exhaust akin to those of the 1950s Porsche. At the back, there seems to be a spoiler that would electrically pop out at certain speeds, but the 550one is likely a full-size static car model since the exhaust isn’t connected to anything.
It had a fully designed interior cabin, complete with a lovely Audi R8-esque six-speed gated manual gearbox and door pull straps. Eagle-eyed readers will notice the door-mounted side air vents with their three-slot design carry over the air intake design and we’re seeing the same look on the central tunnel. The minimalist interior has exposed metal surfaces and aluminium pedals, along with a flat-bottomed steering wheel and the tachometer mounted front and centre as with every other Porsche.
According to the Italian magazine Quattroruote, the 550one never made it to production because the folks from Zuffenhausen had bigger fish to fry at that time. Rather than investing in a product that would have overlapped with the Boxster to a great extent, Porsche spent the money elsewhere, namely funding the development of the Macan to cash in on the SUV craze.
Ferdinand Karl Piëch passed away in 2019, and in his honour, Lamborghini added the “FKP 37” suffix to the Sian’s name after the former chairman’s initials and year of birth. While the 550one never made it to production, massively important cars were born in his era at the VW Group. The Audi Quattro and Bugatti Veyron are the ones enthusiasts will remember the most, but there were also a lot of hugely successful mainstream cars, along with a few flops like the overly engineered Phaeton.