The 1961 Porsche RS was one of the last Spyders made by Porsche that used the potent 4-cam engine. It was a successor to the 1960 RS60 which was a highly developed version of the original 550 RS Spyder. These diminutive racecars excelled on the tighter courses like the Targa Florio which was first won by Porsche in 1956.
That victory marked the first time a sports car with a midship engine had won a major motor sports event. Afterward Porsche continued with the successful design and updated the 550A RS into the lower 718 RSK. It was updated in 1960 to the 718 RS60 which under FIA-imposed rules had a larger interior space, taller windshield and larger doors. The 1961 version was built from this lineage.
After a successful year, Porsche continued to offer the RS 60 and changed its name to the RS 61. Completely identical in specification to the RS 60, it raced alongside the W-RS which had a more extended nose. In 1963, the factory released detailed documents on how to upgrade the Type 547/4 and Type 547/5 and gain an increase of about 10 bhp. Only 14 RS61s were produced.
718-070-Delivered new to Bob Holbert of Pennsylvania and driven in various various East Coast events including the Daytona SCCA National, the Governor’s Cup at Daytona. It was then sold to Tom Payne who again campaigned it in East Coast events like the Cumberland Nationals, Wisconsin Grand Prix, Thompson Nationals and the 500 Sprints in Atlanta. At the end of the 1961 season it was sold again Millard Ripley who won 1st overall at Watkins Glen in June. Overall the car racked up 13 Wins and 20 Podium Finishes in SCCA National Competition.
After 1963 the car was retired, but remained in complete condition and restored in 1969 for vintage racing. Again it was redone by Warren Eads at Spyder Sports in 1995 with a period correct appearance and engine refurbishment by Al Cadrobbi to ‘Nurburgring spec’. At that time the car had an unstamped 1700 Type 547 engine. Throughout this work, the original bodywork for the car was retained.
In 2010 Gooding & Company offered 718-070 at their Amelia Island Sale. It was described as “equipped for track use with fuel cell, a fire system, adjustable rev-limiter, and is offered with a removable roll bar. It sold for $1,705,000 USD to Stirling Moss.
Auction Sales History
1961 Porsche 718 RS 61 Spyder 718-066 – sold for $2,750,000 Formerly owned and raced by Bob Donner and Don Wester. Finished 7th overall and 2nd in class at the 1961 12 Hours of Sebring. Numerous podium finishes at SCCA and USRRC events. One of just fourteen RS 61s ever constructed. Brilliantly restored and ready for track action. Auction Source: 2014 Arizona by RM Auctions
1961 Porsche RS61 718-070 – sold for $1,705,000. This RS61 Spyder was one of the last four-cam Spyders produced. It has an extensive racing pedigree and an impressive list of previous owners. The car was constructed by Porsche in the winter of 1960 and first appeared in the hands of Bob Holbert of Pennsylvania. His business, Holbert’s Garage, became one of the first authorized Porsche dealerships in the country and his racing career with the company, which began in 1957, saw him capture four SCCA National Championships and a podium finish at Le Mans. Holbert’s racing efforts, along with the financial support of Bernie Weil, helped establish the Porsche mystique in North America. Auction Source: Gooding & Company 2010 Amelia Island Auction.