ANOTHER 917 RACER HITS THE ROAD
Legal loophole allows Le Mans racer to become road registered
Porsche collector Claudio Roddaro of Monaco has achieved the near impossible. He has registered a Porsche 917K racer for legal road use. Roddaro bought the car in 2016 for an undisclosed but presumably intergalactic sum in 2016. From there, the seemingly insurmountable task of getting it road registered began.
The story hinges on another road-legal 917, that of the famous Count Rossi, the Italian nobleman who masterminded Martini’s famous sponsorship tie-in with Porsche. Via a somewhat suspect regulatory loophole, Rossi managed to register the car for road in the US state of Alabama, of all places. Once registered in Alabama, Rossi was able to use that paperwork to wangle road registration in Europe.
Porsche says that in order to get his 917K approved for road use, Roddaro had to prove it was identical to the Rossi car. Roddaro’s car was originally based on the unfinished number 037 chassis, acquired by Germany coachbuilder Baur in the late 1970s where it was to remain unfinished for decades. It was eventually sold to a US collector who had it fully built by Carl Thompson at Gunnar Racing in Long Beach. In April 2004, more than thirty years after its life began, 917-037 made its public debut at the Rennsport Reunion in Daytona.
Throughout its life, Porsche remained aware of the car’s whereabouts and was able to furnish the owners with a chassis plate upon request, authenticating 037 as a genuine 917 and in turn enabling the car to be road registered. With around 600hp from its 4.9-litre flat-12 engine but just 600kg overcome, it must surely be one of the most extreme road cars ever created.