Rétromobile Last Porsche 917 built and Shelby’s own Cobra 427 emerge from hiding
KREMER PORSCHE 917
The heroic yet doomed final Porsche 917 returned to France for Rétromobile after 35 years hidden in a Swiss collection, a highlight of a show shining with international gloss, if lacking the event’s traditional French eccentricity.
‘It was built in 1981 by Kremer, who had been given the technical drawings of the 917 by Porsche,’ said the Ascott Collection’s Xavier Micheron. ‘Even by 1981 standards, the top speed of the 917 was still very high, and the works 936 was proving unreliable, so Kremer felt there was still development potential in the old design.
‘ They gave it lower- drag aerodynamics, and bet on 600bhp and light weight – but even so, it needed more fuel than expected. At Le Mans in 1981 it was outqualified by Kremer’s own 911-based 935 and driver Bob Wollek stormed out at the end of his first stint, refusing to drive it any more.’
SHELBY COBRA 427
Carroll Shelby built three street prototypes as well as his competition 427s. ‘ This was the original PR demonstrator,’ said restorer Alain Rüede. ‘It did the show circuit with Ford factory driver Ray Geddes. Shelby kept it until summer 1967. It came to Europe in ’69, and went into a Swiss collection.
‘It didn’t need much work, but whoever looked after it didn’t have the right specialist knowledge. We restored it, reinstating the rare original dry- sump system, with the oil-filler on the front wing, and the original black vinyl hardtop. The engine still needs dyno-testing but it’ll be ready for the Spa Classic where it’ll race for the first time.’
RANGE ROVER ‘REBORN’
Jaguar Land Rover chose Paris to launch its Range Rover Reborn project, honouring the fact that the car was exhibited at the Louvre when new as an example of cutting- edge industrial design.
‘All parts are available to an extent, either through complete refurbishment or manufacturing, but the biggest thing is the body panels – we’ve refreshed the tooling to build these,’ said JLR’S Sally Polokovsky. ‘ We’re in the process of reverse- engineering the whole car, identifying rare spares. Where there’s no option we’re looking at bringing tooling back or commissioning replacements. Kienzle no longer exist so we’ve commissioned replacement dash clocks from Smiths, for example.’
JLR is also to open a prestigious showroom in Coventry, dedicated to selling ‘cars with provenance’.
Renault launched its new Alpine sports car at the show, its display featuring an example of every road car the marque produced. Also present was Patrick le Quement’s 1990 Laguna concept, which bridged the gap between the Eighties’ hefty 2+2 GTS and today’s lightweights.
It was built to showcase Renault’s new 210bhp 2.0-litre engine in a composite body. The Laguna name ended up on Renault’s next family saloon, but the concept survived as the 1996 Sport Spider, engineered and built by Alpine.
LANCIA FLAMINIA ZAGATO MODIFICATA
This unique Lancia has just been restored by GT Label of Lille, and was started up the week before the show for the first time in 35 years.
‘It was discovered in a barn in Greece,’ said restorer Laurent Koczincki. ‘It’s always been of a unique design, more like an Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato than the other Zagato Flaminias, but it was also designed for racing, featuring a onepiece flip-front bonnet. Everything has been restored, in such a way as to retain its patina. We’re currently trying to learn of its race history.’
‘It was built in 1981 by Kremer, using technical drawings of the 917 provided by Porsche’