This series of posts will cover the restoration of this unique 1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder, the successor to the legendary 550 Spyder. The 718 RSK Spyder contains nothing superfluous – it could serve as a blueprint for all Porsche models for that reason – the quintessence of speed, purity, and simplicity. The aluminum three-part body shell covers a tubular space frame made of seamless steel. The interior is also stripped down to the essentials: two seats, three pedals, a simple handbrake, and the gearshift.
Out of thirty-four 718 RSKs made by Porsche, this is number six, an unknown number survive.
We’ll start with the right bodyside restoration, we patterned from the left bodyside, that was deemed correct after much research. To skip ahead in this Porsche restoration view Post 2 here and Post 3 here.
Building a Datum box to aid an aluminum Porsche reconstruction – front body half (upside down)
Porsche reconstruction Datum box – rear body half (upside down)
A datum box is a perfectly square box (i.e. all corners are 90 degree angles) from which you can take measurements to each half of the car to see where the assymettry lies. The photo above shows the front piece of the Porsche and the photo below shows the rear half.
Taking templates of left body side for new panel fabrication – using datum lines
Here we create cardboard patterns every inch or couple inches of the profile of the Porsche body. Then we can flip these patterns to verify the opposite side matches the profile while we are shaping the aluminum sheet metal.
Here you can see the intervals labeled, so that we can match each pattern up correctly.
Here’s a inside view of the body, we also wrapped cardboard around the body to mark out the hole locations and the shape of the holes.
Body side differences – correct (left) template offered up to the right side
This photo captures how different the profiles were from one side to another. We are not sure exactly how this discrepancy came to be. It’s possible the Porsche was in an accident, maybe on the race track, and was quickly repaired.
Transferring the template patterns to new aluminum sheet metal
And finally, here’s how we offered up the cardboard patterns to the new aluminum to check the fit and shape.
Porsche Restoration – 718-006 RSK – right door (upside down)
718-006 RSK – right door plus body side
Keep following this 1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder restoration with lots of photos to come! To skip ahead view Post 2 here and Post 3 here.