The 1970 Porsche 917 K used for the Steve McQueen Le Mans movie is the headline car for the 2017 Gooding Pebble Beach classic car auction.
Gooding & Company announced a 1970 Porsche 917K in Gulf JWA livery as the leading car for the Pebble Beach Auctions during the Monterey classic car week in August 2017 in California, USA. The 1970 Porsche 917K, chassis 917-024, estimate $13,000,000 to $16,000,000, was used by Porsche for testing purposes but most famously was leased to Steve McQueen’s Solar Productions for use in the making of the seminal film Le Mans (1971). The Porsche lead the funeral procession of Swiss racing driver, and owner, Jo Siffert before disappearing from public view for 25 years. A full restoration of the highly original Porsche 917 K was recently completed. A new Porsche marque record may be set if the lower estimate is reached.
Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Sale 2017
Gooding & Company, the official auction house of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, will held its annual Monterey Week classic car auctions on August 18 & 19, 2017, at the Equestrian Center in Pebble Beach, California.
In 2016, Gooding set a new company record earning $129,8 million in sales during the two-day event. The 115 of the 138 lots offered sold for a sell-through rate of 83% and an average of $1,128,606 per car. Gooding sold 26 cars for more than a million dollars with four selling for more than $10 million.
1970 Porsche 917K at Gooding Pebble Beach 2017
Gooding & Company revealed a 1970 Porsche 917K, as the headline car for the Pebble Beach Auctions 2017. This Porsche comes with a whopping estimate of $13,000,000 to $16,000,000 and will set a new marque record if it sells. The highest price ever paid for a Porsche car was $10,120,000 for the 1983 Le Mans 24 Hours winning 1982 Porsche 956 in Rothmans livery that Gooding sold at the 2015 Pebble Beach sale.
The 1970 Porsche 917K, chassis 917-024, was a testing vehicle for Porsche and had a very limited in-period racing history. Porsche sold it to Swiss driver Jo Siffert who leased the car to Steve McQueen’s Solar Productions for use in the making of the film Le Mans (1971). It is this Hollywood connection rather than racing success that contributes to the high estimate.
“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.”
Gooding previously listed the car for sale at the 2014 Pebble Beach auction but the Porsche was withdrawn a few months prior to the auction. Gooding gave no estimate then but some press had dreams of $20 million. Chassis 917-004, also in blue-orange Gulf livery, is rumored to have sold for more than $10 million in 2017.
The Porsche 917-024 Le Mans Racing Car
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 chassis 023 would accomplish two months later.
Jo Siffert’s Porsche 917K
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.
The Barn-Find Porsche 917K
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, Gooding considers this Porsche as one of the most correct and significant 917s in existence and easily one of the finest racing cars ever to come to public auction.
More Information on the Monterey Week Classic Car Auctions 2017
- Monterey Week – Updates on all Monterey week 2017 auctions
- Pebble Beach – Updates on Gooding auction announcements, previews and results
- Monterey – Updates on RM Sotheby’s auction announcements, previews and results
- Quail Lodge – Updates on Bonhams auction announcement, previews and results