With connections to Steve McQueen and famed racer Jo Siffert, this Porsche brought serious money at auction.
UPDATE: The 1970 Porsche 917K sold for $14.08 million, a price in the center of the auction estimate of $13 million to $16 million.
Monterey Car Week brings some of the most special vehicles in the world to a tiny peninsula in California, and this year’s auctions include a very important machine. Gooding & Company has announced an auction of the 1970 Porsche 917K that belonged to famous racing driver Jo Siffert and was a camera car in Steve McQueen’s 1971 film Le Mans.
This car has a fascinating history. It first hit the track during the Le Mans test in 1970 with famous racers Brian Redman and Mike Hailwood behind the wheel. After finishing performance evaluations in Europe, Porsche sold this 917K to Jo Siffert. Then, he leased the vehicle to McQueen’s Solar Productions for use in Le Mans, and it appeared on screen in the film, in addition to shooting some of the action.
Unfortunately, Siffert didn’t get to enjoy his 917K very long after the Le Mans production team returned it. He died in a fatal crash in 1971 at the World Championship Victory Race at Brands Hatch. This 917K led his funeral procession. The Porsche then changed hands and remained out of the spotlight from the mid 1970s until 2001 where it had sat stored in a warehouse near Paris.
Gooding & Company had planned to sell this 917K at its Monterey auction in 2014 but removed the car from its listing about two weeks before the racer was due to cross the auction block. Since then, the machine received a restoration in Switzerland that just finished in 2017. Now deep-pocketed Porsche fanatics have a second chance. The company expects the vehicle to sell for between $13 million and $16 million. Check it out on track in the video, above.
Source: Gooding & Company
Iconic and Legendary 1970 Porsche 917K Races to The Pebble Beach Auctions Presented by Gooding & Company
Formerly the property of famed driver Jo Siffert and used in the epic film “Le Mans,” this historic Porsche will headline the auction house’s premier sale this August
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (June 22, 2017) – Gooding & Company, the official auction house of the
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, is thrilled to reveal the addition of one of the most important and desirable competition cars of all time to the company’s Pebble Beach Auctions. The 1970 Porsche 917K, chassis 917-024, is an undisputed masterpiece of racing engineering with one of the most recognizable liveries in motorsport history.
“The Porsche 917 is among the most significant competition cars ever created and they remain highly coveted by knowledgeable enthusiasts worldwide,” notes David Gooding, President and Founder of Gooding & Company. “This example, with its fascinating history, iconic livery and exacting restoration, is among the most exciting racing cars that has ever come to public auction.”
1970 Porsche 917K
Porsche had been competing for class wins in the world’s greatest endurance races since 1950, but lacked the proper machinery to challenge for overall victory in races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1969 they took advantage of new regulations and developed one of the most significant, beautiful, and advanced sports prototype cars in history, the 12-cylinder 917. Further developed as the 917K (‘K’ for kurz or short tail), by 1970 the model became a dominant force in international competition.
The 917K presented here, chassis 917-024, was first used by Porsche during the 1970 Le Mans Tests, where it was piloted by Brian Redman and Mike Hailwood. Redman set the fastest times of the event, proving that the updated model was capable of winning the coveted 24-hour race, which it would accomplish two months later. Following testing sessions at Le Mans, Nürburgring and Ehra Lessien, 917-024 was sold to Porsche factory driver, Jo Siffert, who leased the car to Steve McQueen’s Solar Productions for use in the making of the seminal film Le Mans (1971). According to extensive research by noted 917 historian and author the late Walter Näher, 917-024 was utilized as a camera car during production, and also starred extensively during the film. Following its Hollywood stint, 917-024 remained in Siffert’s private collection until his passing. Chassis 024 led his funeral procession, which was reflective of the 917’s importance in his life, before being sold to a private collector in Paris in the mid 1970s.
Chassis 917-024 remained hidden and largely unknown for roughly 25 years, before re-emerging in 2001 from a warehouse outside Paris in one of the greatest ‘barn find’ discoveries ever. Covered in dust and still in its Gulf JWA livery from Siffert’s ownership, 024 was remarkably untouched after more than two decades in hiding. Even the original space-saver spare, Firestone fuel cell, and Firestone Super Sports GP tires were still in place, as well as a handwritten tag hanging from the key with instructions to run lean given the Le Mans set up, believed to be notated by Porsche driver Herbert Linge.
The 917 has recently benefited from an exceptional restoration, led by specialist Graber Sportgarage in Switzerland and finished in 2017. Presented today from a private European collection, this is surely one of the most correct and significant 917s in existence and easily one of the finest racing cars ever to come to public auction. The offering of 917-024 is a momentous occasion and the opportunity to acquire a car of this stature is not to be missed.