Category Archives: Spark

Spark 1955 Porsche 356 Continental

By Harvey Goranson

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Max Hoffman was the sole importer of Porsches in the early 1950’s. In 1954, he convinced Porsche to make a US-only roadster variant of the 356, which had a raked windscreen and minimal equipment. The resulting 356 America Roadster has appeared as a 1:43 resin model from both LookSmart and Matrix.

With plans to introduce the curved-windshield 356A in late 1955, Hoffman convinced Porsche to make another mostly US-bound model, the Continental, at the end of the Porsche 356 run. Ford, maker of the Lincoln Continental, brought suit, so the model name was short-lived. Some 1,200 Continental coupes and cabriolets were built.

Until now, no 1:43 scale replica of the 356 Continental has been made, though there are scads of 356 (pre-A), 356A, 356B, and 356C models out there. Per the certificate of authenticity card included with this model, Mark Wegh of the Porsche Classic Center Gelderland Netherlands and Henk Koop, President of the Porsche Model Club, are responsible for bringing this replica to fruition. It has been made by Spark in a limited edition of 356 examples. It is provided in a very attractive flip-open box, similar to that used previously by Spark for some of their more special models.

Two things strike you when you flip open that box – the color and the whitewall tires. The color, used by Porsche in 1954 and 1955, is called Terra Cotta, a very striking light brown, similar to a creamy Belgian milk chocolate or a well-creamed cup of coffee. (OK, there’s another similarity, but I’m not going to go there!) A great contrast to all the white, silver, red, and black 356 models that have been made. Whitewall tires may seem really out of place on a Porsche, but remember these were being sold in mid-1950’s America, and many sports cars were shod with them. Take a look at period pictures of MG TFs, TR3s, and Jaguar XK140s and you’ll see quite a few whitewalls.

All the brightwork is chromed with two exceptions. The window surrounds, wipers, and rear grille are a better-than-average photoetch. And, like the original, the ‘Porsche’ script front and rear, and the ‘Continental’ script on the sides, is gold finished. The taillights (all six of them) have a great translucent finish, and the headlight lenses are nicely fluted. The interior is a yellow-buckskin color, with a white steering wheel, dash details, and chrome door handles and window winders.

I have a number of resin models from AutoCult, GLM, Matrix, et al, produced in numbers ranging from 199 to 408. This is a Porsche that has not been modeled before, so all those Porschephiles out there will be wanting one, and there are only 356 to be had. To my knowledge, only one dealer has them, Selection RS in France. Great folks to deal with – as a thanks they usually put a few chocolates in the shipping box!


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Porsche’s Pink Pigs

By Matt Beaumont

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

The story behind the ‘Truffelhunter from Zuffenhausen’ begins in 1970 when Porsche’s best boffins were playing with two versions of their LMP: the 917K, as in Kurzheck, which is German for short-tail, and the 917L Langheck (long tail). The K car had its rear end lopped off to generate more down force, but that also caused more drag, while the long-tail was a more slippy version designed specifically for Le Mans and in particular the 6km long Mulsanne Straight. In 1970 to everyone’s surprise the K car still beat the L, and all the Ferraris

So in 1971 Porsche engineers together with the French company SERA attempted to combine the advantages of the K and L 917s. However, the results were not pretty. This Frankenstein car was wider with a snouty front end and a short (but not curly) tail. Rumour has it that when the car got back to Stuttgart both Porsche’s race team and the Italian sponsors at Martini & Rossi were so unimpressed that they didn’t want their iconic blue and red livery on the new racer. And so the porcine nickname was born, but in a brilliant piece of PR, Porsche designer Anatole Lapine decided in favour of the pink body colour and labelled each of the body parts according to the butcher-style cuts. Porsche caused a sensation at Le Mans 1971 with the first Pink Pig

It may not have been the best looking version of the 917 but the aerodynamics worked … sort of. It was the fastest car during the pre-race qualification session despite it being an untested experimental design. However, during the main event the Pink Pig, running well in fifth position, eventually retired with mechanical maladies. Only later in the strip down postmortem did they realise that the new piggy body was playing havoc with the brakes and other oily bits.

So a livery that started as a bit of a joke is now one of the most iconic liveries ever to grace a Porsche, There have been numerous vehicles to sport this livery an on line search shows that it found its way on to many different vehicles.

This brings me to the review of Spark’s rendition of the car Porsche ran at LeMans in 2018.

Porsche fielded two special Porsche 911 RSR at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans: The factory-run cars with the starting numbers 91 and 92 sported the traditional Le Mans liveries of the 1970s and 1980s.

The finish of the number 92 car, shared by race drivers Kévin Estre (France), Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), harks back to the Porsche 917/20 that tackled Le Mans in 1971. This car reached the top step on the LMGTE Pro podium, claiming the German marque’s first trophy in the class since 2013! 

The Model

This review is based on my own opinion after looking closely at the model that I recently bought.  

Spark have released two versions of this model. It first appeared in an exclusive to Porsche dealer release in specific packaging and with a display case as do many of the Spark Porsche dealer models part number WAP0219250K. This limited release commanded over £300, an awful lot of money for a sealed resin model however good it may be.

Spark have just released their standard version with their own packaging part number 18S393 which I managed to pick up for less than half the cost of an official Porsche issue. It has no display case but I don’t find this an issue especially at the cost saving the Spark branded release offered.

The only discernible differences between the two issues is the box, the base the model is screwed to, and the perspex cover that the Porsche dealer issue has.

The Exterior

Finished in a fetching pink colour with the butchers cut markings and sponsorship decals Spark have upheld their reputation for a the high quality finish which I have come to expect from them ( this is the sixth Porsche from them in my collection).

The shape and appearance has been caught very well showing off the 991 RSRs brutish lines and its striking aerodynamic package.

The glazing is nicely done and the lights have very good details (though the front ones are better executed than the rears ) there is a plethora of tiny aerials and antenna’s on the roof.  

The carbon fibre is very well replicated where it appears at various points on the car and the wheels and tyres are really nicely done, with detailed “AP Racing” brakes showing behind the large diameter alloy wheels. Both wheel and tyre manufacture labelling is present.

The Underside

When mounted on its base, as many of these models will remain, there is very little of the underside that can be seen, other than the exhaust system and the rear diffuser.

The Interior

As with most resin models this can be only viewed through the window apertures, namely the windscreen and doors, as the rear ¼ windows and screen are blacked out as the RSR is a mid-engined car and not a rear engined one like its road going sibling.  But what can be seen looks well done and gives a very good view of a busy yet spartan race car’s interior

In Summary

Personally, I am very pleased to obtain this model to join my three other “Pink Pig Porsches” and I am very happy with the model. I think that the Spark edition is a reasonable price and much more affordable than the previous dealer edition which appears to give very little in return for the extra outlay of money!

These are your only options to buy this car in 1:18 scale but I would not be surprised to see other manufacturers produce their own versions of this car in the future as collectors are be drawn to the ‘porkiest of Porsches’.


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