Snapshot, 1975: Count Rossi prepares to face the rush hour

It’s April 1975, and Conte Rossi di Montelera – the man who masterminded Porsche’s sponsorship tie-up with Martini & Rossi – is at Weissach to collect his new 917K. But he won’t be returning it to his home in Paris on a trailer. Thanks to an amusing legal loophole, he’ll be driving it there himself…

Count Rossi’s 917K – chassis #030 – was originally built as a test-bed for Porsche’s ABS system, before competing in the 1971 Austrian 1,000km at the Österreichring under the Martini Racing banner. In the hands of Dr Helmut Marko and Gérard Larrousse, it retired with suspension problems, after which it was put into storage at the factory. That was until Rossi requested to buy the car in 1974 and turn it into a road car. While the factory obliged, the European authorities didn’t. As such, Rossi used his considerable influence to get the prototype road registered in Alabama, on one condition – that he never brings the car to the American state. It might be wearing number plates, but it’s not fooling anyone – save for the extra mirrors and a silencer for the exhausts, virtually nothing was changed. A racing car for the road? You bet! 

Photo: Rainer Schlegelmilch / Getty Images