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Fletcher Panamerican Road Race 550 Spyder


Wendell S. Fletcher was an inventor and the owner of Fletcher Aviation of Pasadena, CA. He designed a cross county vehicle for the army which was intended to replace the jeep. It used a 1500 cc Porsche engine developing 55 hp. He changed the cooling fan to a system of his own design and started negotiations with Porsche to aide in the project. It was called 'Jet Cooling' and consisted of a venturi through which the exhaust gases flowed. The vacuum produced was fed with cooling air from the engine. The saving is from the energy required to run the fan. Several racing prototypes were developed using the system. Unfortunately the noise produced was excessive and the system was never used.

To support the army jeep replacement project, Fletcher got manufacturing rights for the Porsche Type 527 1500cc, Type 528 1500 Super and the Type 616 1600cc industrial engines. Fletcher sponsored 2 550 Spyders for the Carrera Panamerican races in 1953 and 1954 to promote his company and the project.

See the July, 1981 Porsche Panorama.
Last modified: Sat, 09 Nov 2002


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