Rolling Art Porsche Speedster
by Minimalist Sculptor Robert Morris
Coming soon to Bring A Trailer, This is a 55 Speedster, Vin # 81193, built by the Minimalist sculptor Robert Morris. “He is regarded as one of the most prominent theorists of Minimalism” Robert Morris - 24 artworks - sculpture (wikiart.org) Works by Robert Morris have been show in the MOMA, Whitney, and Guggenheim. Some are permanent displays. Morris had an RS-61 Porsche that he sold, and having seller’s remorse, he bought this car in 1973. The car was purchased from Robert J. Alverez in NY (seems another artist). Morris started building the car in 70’s as an early “Outlaw Porsche”, influenced by the smooth lines of the RS-61. Robert built the car with the help of his assistant Rolf Horst, who helped him build his larger sculptures. The mechanicals on the car were done with the help of his friend, Porsche racer and mechanic Dick Hyland. The car was in Hyland’s shop for several years. The car has been fitted with "C" disk brakes, "C" trans, ZF steering box, and the rear shock mounts were modified to accept full size vertically mounted shocks, (Konis front and rear). The engine is a rebuilt “B” normal sourced from 356 Registry member Wick McConnon, who said it had about 15,000 miles on it. The engine has 180psi per cylinder. The engine was resealed by Gaswerk’s Garage. The car has a new clutch and throw-out bearing. The Zenith 32 Carburetors have been rebuilt. The exhaust is a new dual outlet sport muffler by Dansk. The seats are handmade Speedster copies made in Aluminum. One of the seats had the cover off at time of purchase and Ray Paterek recovered it. Morris custom made an aluminum head fairing and passenger tonneau cover. The alloy rear wheel spats go on and off easily with special brass wingnuts. Horst said the door handle pockets were shrunk and hammered out, not filled with putty. Up front the horn grills were modified to direct air to the brakes. The interior is customized with blacked out vinyl dash, diamond finished rubber mats, etc. The car was stiffened with "X" side bars. The hood, deck lid, and both doors are numbered with last three digits 193.
Morris first painted the car black in his studio with Horst circa 1978 and drove it on road until. 2007 He did not like it in black and repainted it silver, and never finished assembling the car. When the car was purchased from Morris’ wife Lucile, the panels were hanging in the Morris studio, a converted barn in NY. The panels were taken down and assembled the car in the studio before trailering home! The pictures show the parts hung on the wall, with car as found. Included with the car are the white cords used to hand the parts, along with paper and canvas templates the artist used to fabricate the covers. The pictures show a fiberglass mockup of a full louvered hood that he was considering for the car, which also come with the car. The car also comes complete with black canvas top, tonneau cover, and side curtains with holders. The NY “MORRIS” Plate is a facsimile.
This 1955 Speedster originally had 1500 engine, so it is eligible to do the Mille Miglia and California Mille. If new owner wanted to convert to original specs, the car comes with the original matching transmission # 7761, original brake drums, backing plates and shoes, along with a set of 16” x 3.25” steel wheels.
Recent work includes oil change and filter, valve adjustment, 4 wheel alignment, flush brakes, new fuel petcock, new fuel lines, new filter, carb rebuild, all new ball sockets for linkage, new axle boot seals, fresh trans oil, new shifter bushings. Re-wired from dash back to rear lights, all work. New 6Vt battery and new starter.
The car and owner were personally invited to “The Bridge” this year by organized Jeffrey Einhorn. This was the first public show for the car. The car was also mentioned in a BAT article BaT Event Coverage: The Bridge 5 at Bridgehampton | Bring a Trailer
The car runs and drives well, Tires are older 5.50 Dunlop racing and should not be used for highway driving.