1970 Porsche 917

K

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1970
  • Car type 
    Other
  • Lot number 
    r0008
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other

Description

To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION at RM Sothebys' Monterey event, 13 - 14 August 2021.

  • An irrefutable icon in period motorsports and film history alike; the “winning car” in Steve McQueen’s Le Mans
  • The Mike Hailwood/David Hobbs JW Automotive Gulf Racing 1970 Le Mans entry
  • Repurposed and converted by the factory to become the Jürgen Neuhaus and Jürgen Barth 1971-1973 European Interserie contender
  • Recent recipient of a complete and correct restoration by Paul Lanzante to its 1970 Le Mans 917 K specification
  • Powered by a flat-12 cylinder, air-cooled engine with signature naturally aspirated sound track
  • Exceptional provenance with only three long-term owners since 1974

Please check back soon as our dedicated cataloguing team is preparing the description for this lot.

During the golden era of motorsport, the most famous and fearless drivers were sometimes equated to rock stars or Hollywood celebrities. For only the most exceptional examples, this same equation proved true for the racing cars themselves. Permanently preserved on celluloid in perhaps the most accurate depiction of sports car racing that will ever be attempted on-screen, this example co-starred in Steve McQueen’s seminal 1971 feature Le Mans, using footage shot during the 1970 Le Mans race.

Adding to the Le Mans movie’s overall authenticity—a requirement personally insisted upon by McQueen—this Porsche 917 K was no mere picture car. Piloted by David Hobbs and Mike Hailwood, it was a genuine contender for victory during the real 24 Hours of Le Mans, running as high as third place before the oft-treacherous race claimed the car, with rain causing Hailwood to aquaplane and retire after 49 laps.

Despite limited damage to the chassis, time constraints meant that it was more convenient for JWA to exchange this chassis with a spare one immediately available and so the Porsche factory rebuilt this example for an important customer, Team Shell Heckersbruch, for the reigning Interserie Champion Jürgen Neuhaus to race. The car performed strongly over the next three seasons against ever-more-powerful competition, before being retired at the end of 1974.

Purchased by the consignor, a noted collector, in 2012, the most recent chapter in the storied history of this racing Porsche was a full restoration to its original, Gulf-liveried Le Mans coupe specification. Executed by Paul Lanzant, one of the top European racing car restorers, without regard to cost and with access to many correct and original NOS components, the results are impressive in every sensory regard, from the stunning presentation and attention to detail to the mechanical preparation that is headlined by the unmistakable symphony of the flat-12 cylinder at full revs.

Making a sound unlike any other and presenting exactly as it would have done at that famous race at La Sarthe 51 years ago, the Porsche 917 K is “on the button,” maintained as if a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, or indeed another film role, is its next event.

Please check back soon as our dedicated cataloguing team is preparing the full description for this lot.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mo21.