By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Hemmings

Known as “the giant killer” for its ability conquer much more powerful cars, Porsche’s 550 Spyder was a tough act to follow. So what do you do if you’re Porsche? You gotta innovate, but you can’t throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. So Porsche kept most of what made the 550 great, and incorporated a few mechanical and cosmetic improvements, and boom — the 718 was born.

The 718 design was more of a series of cars, rather than a single model. The basic 718 RSK had an all-new, streamlined body shape, which you could argue rivals the famed 550. It also featured a revised suspension setup with a new “K” shaped torsion system. Thus the car was deemed the RSK, where the “RS” stands for RennSport (Porsche lingo for sports-racing) and the “K” refers to the new suspension shape. (Unfortunately there’s no elaborate German K-word to cite here like Kabelfernsehen.)

Other cars is the 718 lineup consisted of the 718/2 open wheel racer, the center-steer 718 RSK Mittellenker, the 718 GTR Coupe and eight-cylinder W-RS.

Like the 550, the 718 proved to be a worthy competitor, taking notable finishes at Le Mans, Targa Florio, hill climb racing, as well as victories in Formula Two. The car was manned by some of the best drivers of the day, including Dan Gurney, Hans Herrmann, Masten Gregory and Jean Behra.

This striking tribute to the 718 comes courtesy of Beverly Hills Motorcars and is based on a modified Beck chassis. The car is a brand new build and features a new 2,110 cc Type 1 and Rancho Performance transaxle. Lift the rear hatch and you’ll see a pair of downdraft carburetors and finned valve covers which spice up the (otherwise utilitarian) engine bay.

The fiberglass body features flip-open side louvers, a cut-down glass windshield and satin silver paint. The handsome red upholstery is well done, and provides a quite a bit more comfort than the original race cockpits. The car rides on wide-five wheels with modern rubber.

Listed for $49,950, the RSK Spyder is selling for a premium over the more common 550 Spyder. Is being different worth $15,000 to $20,000? You'll have to be the judge.

See the RSK here on Hemmings by Beverly Hills Motorcars.