The First Porsche 917/10

1970 Porsche 917/10 Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 8, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Porsche 917 is one of the most legendary series of race cars ever built. It began with cars like this on tracks like the Nurburgring, Le Mans, and Spa. It culminated in the mighty 917/30 dominated the Can-Am Series right out of existence.

There were 53 of the original 917s built beginning in 1969. At the end of 1970, Porsche had updated the car, dubbing it the “917/10.” This is the first 917/10 built, the prototype used for developing 917/10s that came after it. Wind tunnel testing began in 1971 and during that testing this car sported five different bodies. Over the years it has also been fitted with several different engines. It is currently restored to “1971 wind tunnel specification” with a 5.0-liter flat-12 making about 630 horsepower providing the oomph.

During testing, the car was driven by drivers such as Jo Siffert and Mark Donohue. After testing was completed, it was sold to a privateer who campaigned the car around Europe, the U.S. and South America. Between the end of the 1973 racing season and 1997, the car sat in storage.

Restored between 1998 and 2000, the car then entered the historic circuit. It was then restored again to the condition you see here, which is very interesting. Only about 14 917/10s were ever built. This one should bring between $4,850,000-$5,800,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

1972 Can-Am Champion Porsche 917/10

1972 Porsche 917/10 Spyder

Offered by Mecum Auctions | Monterey, California | August 18, 2012

Can-Am was an amazing race series with innovation and pure power and speed being the most important things. There were few rules and the cars were over the top. Porsche had little success in 1970 with its underpowered 908 and 917PA models (they won a single race with a privateer team). In 1971, with factory backing, the 917/10 was introduced into the series, as the hardtop 917 was not eligible. The engine was a flat-12, but it didn’t make enough power.

So for 1972, Porsche strapped two turbochargers to the engine of 5.0-liters (this car was upgraded to 5.4-liters mid-1973), and with enough boost they could crank the power up over 1150. The wins came about as quick as this cars 0-60mph sprint of 2.9 seconds. This Penske-prepped car won the 1972 Can Am Championship. Here is a breakdown of chassis #003’s competition history:

  • 1972 Road Atlanta Can-Am – 1st (with George Follmer, who drove in all following races)
  • 1972 Watkins Glen Can-Am – 5th
  • 1972 Buckeye Can-Am (Mid-Ohio) – 1st
  • 1972 Road America Can-Am – 1st
  • 1972 Minneapolis Tribune Grand Prix (Donnybrooke) – 4th
  • 1972 Klondike 200 (Edmonton) – 3rd
  • 1972 Monterey Castrol GTX Grand Prix (Laguna Seca) – 1st
  • 1972 Los Angeles Times Grand Prix (Riverside) – 1st
  • 1972 Can-Am Championship – 1st
  • 1973 Interserie Nürburgring 300km – 17th, DNF
  • 1973 Interserie Imola  – 11th, DNF
  • 1973 Labatt’s Blue Trophy (Mosport) – 13th, DNF
  • 1973 Watkins Glen Can-Am – 20th, DNF
  • 1973 Buckeye Cup (Mid-Ohio) – 2nd
  • 1973 Road America Can-Am – 3rd
  • 1973 Molson Cup (Edmonton) – 2nd
  • 1973 Monterey Castrol Grand Prix (Laguna Seca) – 11th, DNF
  • 1973 Los Angeles Tims Grand Prix (Riverside) – 20th, DNF
  • 1973 Can-Am Championship – 2nd

As you can see, this car was only raced by one guy, George Follmer, and he was no slouch behind the wheel. The car didn’t stand a chance in the 1973 championship, as it was competing with the mighty 917/30 driven by Mark Donohue. But second place that year is kind of like a win.  The car was destroyed in a testing crash in late 1973 and that was the end of its brief career.

Obviously, it is back to as-new/as-raced condition. With this being only one of 18 cars built, and the fact that it is an ex-Penske Can-Cam Championship-winning car, it is quite valuable. Mecum does not publish estimates, but the Sunoco-liveried 917/30 sold for $4.4 million. I think this would bring less as it isn’t iconic, but it certainly has provenance. But what do I know? For more information, click here. And for more on Mecum in Monterey, click here.

Update: Sold $5,500,000.