Road Legal Porsche 917 of Count Rossi.

2y ago

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The Porsche 917 doesn't need much introduction as it gave Porsche their first outright win at Le Mans and that pretty much cemented its place in history. The car you see here is chassis number 917.030, built in 1971 and originally part of the Martini Racing Team, running under number 28 in the Zeltweg 1,000km race on June 27, 1971. It was the first race car to be fitted with anti-locking brakes and was driven by our friend, Gérard Larrousse. In that race, the car qualified 3rd behind the Richard Attwood Gulf Porsche 917 and the Jacky Ickx Ferrari 312P. It eventually took the lead, and would've won had it not been for a blown tyre which sent Gérard off the road where it sustained some damage.

After 1971, the Porsche 917 was ruled out of high-level European sportscar racing, so 917.030 never raced again, but it was used by the factory for further ABS testing for the next 12 months in Weissach.

The car was then sold to Count Rossi in 1975 for an alleged 75,000DM. Porsche Motorsport shaved off the fins on the rear, added some fairly substantial exhaust mufflers but getting the car made road legal wasn't as easy as they'd hoped. In Germany they were told there was absolutely no chance. In France they said they could in theory, but it needed to be crash-tested - which they obviously couldn't do. So they tried Italy, where it should've been possible (with the right cash-laden envelopes), but even they turned their back. In the end, the car was taken to Alabama where they granted it the licence plate, 61-27737. The licence was granted on one condition - that the car could never come close to the state-border!

Count Rossi kept the 917 until he passed away in 2003, when his son took ownership of the car. Being the only 917 Straßenversion, the car is highly collectible, but Rossi Jnr (an accomplished historic racer himself) has never entertained any financial offers for the car. The last offer apparently eclipsed that of the 250 GTO that currently holds the title for most expensive road car ever sold. The only other 917 to see a public road was chassis 917-021, but that has subsequently been converted back to race use. Unfortunately, the Count's 917 road licence is now out of date, so it needs re-registering - something that hasn't been done yet, but we certainly hope that they do.

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