A Porsche 917K has sold for $14m - but why is it worth this much?
This Porsche 917K has just sold for a huge $14,080,000 (£10,975,000) at auction. Crazy, right? Well, perhaps not...
This 917K – chassis number 024 – was sold by Gooding and Company at an auction at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance over the weekend. Here’s why it sold for so much.
The 917 won Le Mans for Porsche in 1970 and 1971
In 1968, Porsche used rule changes as an opportunity to pounce on the opposition. Heavy development on the 917 was perfected by Porsche, resulting in the 917K you see here.
Two wins at Le Mans in consecutive years fixed the 917K’s place in the book of sporting legends. The only downside is that 024 never actually raced, although it did take part in testing.
It was owned by a Swiss racing driver
Jo Siffert was initially a motorcycle racer, but it was sports cars where he excelled. Siffert would be signed up to race by Porsche in 1969, winning four championship races and securing seven further podium finishes. In June 1970, Siffert would purchase 024.
Siffert was particularly fond of the car, driving it to his own birthday party on one occasion. Tragically, Siffert died in 1971 when the suspension of his BRM failed on a victory lap. This 917K would lead the funeral procession, equipped with black ribbon on the bonnet.
Steve McQueen used it
This 917K was one of the key cars in the legendary 1971 film, ‘Le Mans’, where 024 was leased to Solar Productions – the movie company formed by McQueen. Several 917s were used, all playing a vital role in the on-screen action and this example still retains the original mounting points used to attach cameras to the car.
It was a ‘barn find’
Nowadays, anything which has been stored in a garage for a period of time seems to class as a ‘barn find’, but this potentially is the real deal.
The French owner who imported the car in 1978 never used it, and it was tucked away until 2001 when it was discovered in a disused warehouse just outside of Paris. The car was entirely untouched, nearly original, and perhaps one of the greatest finds of recent times.
It has been immaculately restored
While nearly completely original, 20-plus years of storage had left its mark. An incorrect engine – presumably the real one was returned to Porsche after Siffert’s death – was replaced with an original from chassis number 021, purchased from a private collector in the US. I mean who doesn’t have a spare 917K engine lying about?
Work was carried out by Meridian Motorsport, and Graber Sportgarage in Switzerland, who used original factory records to ensure absolute accuracy of the restoration and that this one of the best models in existence.