If you would like to own a piece of motor racing history, no, make that a very significant piece of racing history, then pay attention.
Porsche 917 K (chassis #917-024), once owned by the master of the 917 himself, Jo Siffert, was part of his private collection. 917-024 did not see much racing action in period, being used by Brian Redman and Mike Hailwood for testing at the Le Mans test day in 1970, where Redman set the fastest time of the event. It was also used for testing at the Nürburgring and the VW test track at Ehra Lessien in Lower Saxony.
The car was then sold to Porsche factory driver, Jo Siffert, who leased the car to Steve McQueen’s Solar Productions for use in the making of the memorable and influential film, Le Mans, in 1971. According to research by noted 917 historian and author, the late Walter Näher, 917-024 was utilised as a camera car during the production of the film, and also starred extensively in the film. Following its introduction to the big screen, 917-024 remained in Siffert’s private collection until his passing.
Taken in the prime of his motor racing career, Siffert died in 1971 at the age of 35 years when his BRM overturned at Brands Hatch, trapping him under the burning car. Chassis 024 led his funeral procession through the streets of Fribourg in Switzerland, which was reflective of the 917’s importance in his life.
It was sold to a private collector in Paris in the mid 1970s. This car then 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 tyres 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.
Chassis 917-024 has recently benefited from an exceptional restoration, led by specialist Graber Sportgarage in Switzerland, and was finished in 2017. Because of its limited competition life, it has not been damaged like so many race cars of its kind were in period, making it one of the most correct and significant 917s today.
“The Porsche 917 is among the most significant competition cars ever created and they remain highly coveted by knowledgeable enthusiasts worldwide,” noted 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.”
Where: Gooding & Company, Pebble Beach Auctions, 18/19 August 2017
For further details contact: David Brynan, T: +1 310 899 5173
For a detailed history of the 917’s racing achievements click here
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Gooding & Company/Mathieu Heurtault