This is definitely one to watch!
How stratospheric can a single car’s price go? Not only is this a genuine Porsche 917, it’s a Porsche 917 with actual race history. And not only is it a genuine Porsche 917 with race history, it was also used in a famous film about racing – Le Mans. And not only is it a Porsche 917 with genuine racing history and a famous film role, it was driven in that film by none other than Steve McQueen.
It’s fair to say that there are few cars in existence with such a distinguished and storied history. There are plenty of recognisable movie cars in the world, but the level of respect attached to this car puts it on another level all together. It’s the real deal.
Maybe we should have a nearest-the-pin style competition to guess the eventual selling price? The car will go under the hammer at Gooding & Co’s Pebble Beach Auction on August 16-17.
Here’s the press release:
A Legendary Motor Sport Icon Set to Cross the Auction Block at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (June 23, 2014) – Gooding & Company is thrilled to announce the addition of the 1969 Porsche 917K, chassis 917-024 (estimate upon request), featured in the film Le Mans (1971) to its Pebble Beach Auctions on August 16 and 17. The anniversary of the US release of Le Mans (1971) on June 23 in 1971 makes this a truly historic announcement. Set in the golden age of the sport, the film is one of most watched and revered racing motion pictures ever made. Le Mans (1971) features a cast of racing glitterati, including actor Steve McQueen, and a host of extraordinary race cars. 917-024 takes center stage at the height of the action as the Gulf 917 that claims the checkered flag in the film.
David Gooding, President: “917-024 is one of the most significant and recognizable racing cars ever to come to public auction, and we are thrilled to present the legendary Gulf 917 Porsche.”
Porsche designed and built the famed 917 model in the late 1960s to claim outright victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Forming the foundation of this car is an incredibly lightweight aluminum space-frame chassis fitted with a streamlined fiberglass body. The Porsche 917 is an undisputed masterpiece of automotive engineering with both overwhelming success on the track and legions of racing fans around the world.
917-024 has the important distinction of being the first 917 model to compete in a race, which occured when it was entered by the Porsche works team at Spa Francorchamps in 1969. 917-024 was later enlisted by the legendary J.W. Automotive Engineering Ltd.-Gulf team at the 1970 Le Mans Test, where it was driven by Brian Redman and Mike Hailwood. Redman set the fastest times, proving that the 917 model was capable of winning. This car is easily recognized by its striking lines and iconic light blue and orange Gulf livery and boasts a magnificent air-cooled flat 12-cylinder engine.
Chassis 024 was then acquired by Porsche factory driver, Jo Siffert, who loaned it to Solar Productions for the film Le Mans (1971), which he and McQueen, along with many other celebrated racing figures, participated in creating. 917-024 remained in Siffert’s private ownership until his passing and led his funeral procession, reflecting the importance of this car in his career, before being sold to a private collector.
This 917 remained hidden and unknown for roughly 25 years, before re-emerging as perhaps the greatest ‘barn find’ ever. Since resurfacing in 2001, 917-024 has benefitted from an exceptional restoration.
Presented today, this is surely one of the most correct, culturally significant and important of the 917s, making it very easily one of the finest racing cars extant. Without question, the presence of 917-024 at auction is a momentous occasion, for the opportunity to acquire a car of this iconic stature is not to be missed.
The Pebble Beach Auctions
Date(s): Saturday, August 16 at 5:00 pm PST and Sunday, August 17 at 6:00 pm PST
Location: Equestrian Center, Corner of Stevenson Drive and Portola Road, Pebble Beach
Public preview: August 13-17
Auctions catalogues: $100, includes admission for two to the viewing and the auctions
General admission: $40, includes admission for one to the viewing and the auctions
Live auction broadcast: www.goodingco.com
My thanks to Dick L for passing this on. It’s a great story and it’ll be a thrill to follow to its conclusion.
Note: I’ve used car #20 as the featured image for this post on the front page of the website, but the car up for auction here was actually car #22 in the film. I used the car #20 picture because it was such a good still from the film. McQueen started the movie driving car #20, which is the one he crashed in the movie before taking over car #22 to finish the film.