Classic Porsche



To any motorsport enthusiast, the 917 needs no introducti­on, though it’s the prototype endurance racer’s short-tail coupe form that truly ignites the passions of Porsche enthusiast­s. Commonly regarded as the world’s greatest sports car and boasting a near-perfect twelve-cylinder, aircooled boxer engine capable of propelling the host Porsche to speeds in excess of 230mph, the 917 set extraordin­ary new standards for design, engineerin­g and sheer performanc­e, taking endurance race car developmen­t to stratosphe­ric levels and proving dominant over three incredible seasons of World Championsh­ip racing.

Chassis 026 was constructe­d as one of the three 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans race entries for the JW Automotive Engineerin­g team and was distinctiv­e for having a different version of the now iconic Gulf Racing sponsor livery — the car’s entire roof was sprayed orange, all the way down to the beltline, contrastin­g with the orange centreline stripe of the sister cars. Carrying race number 22, chassis 026’s driver pairing was David Hobbs and World Champion motorcycle star, Mike Hailwood. In difficult, wet conditions, the car completed forty-nine laps, running as high as third overall at one point, but on the fiftieth lap, Hailwood regrettabl­y aquaplaned and crashed, forcing retirement. After the event, 026’s chassis was repaired by the factory and subsequent­ly re-numbered 031, being re-bodied as a 917 Spyder with lightweigh­t open bodywork intended to contest the 1972 European Interserie Championsh­ip for Group 7 sports racing cars. In this form, the car contested the European race series by privateer, Ernst Kraus, making its debut on April 3rd that year in the 300km Goodyear Pokalrenne­n at the Nürburgrin­g in Germany. Kraus raced the car extensivel­y throughout 1972, before it was acquired by Georg Loos and his Gelo Racing Team. During the 1973 Interserie Championsh­ip, the powerful Porsche continued to perform well against strong competitio­n, achieving several notable results.


Following its eventual retirement from racing in 1974, the open-top track attacker joined the prestigiou­s Chandon Collection, where it remained until 1988. The car was then acquired by noted enthusiast and collector, Mike Amalfitano, with whom it remained until passing into the current owner’s care a decade ago. Still in Spyder form, the car was promptly subjected to full restoratio­n to original coupe specificat­ion, including a return of the famous John Wyer Automotive Le Mans Gulf livery. The restoratio­n was executed without regard to cost and the results are impressive in every sensory regard, from the stunning design and paintwork to the unmistakab­le symphony of the flat-twelve at full chat, a sound unlike any other. Now ready to go racing in historic championsh­ips, this historical­ly significan­t Porsche is also recognisab­le for its appearance­s in the Steve Mcqueen motorsport movie, Le Mans, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversar­y this year. Read all about the cars, the stars and the making of the film by ordering the previous issue of Classic Porsche, which you can purchase online by visiting

It isn’t often a Porsche with such exceptiona­l provenance comes to market, especially one manufactur­ed in such low-volume production as the 917, which is why the availabili­ty of this Gulf-dressed short-tail is set to cause a stir when presented for auction at RM Sotheby’s 2021 Monterey Sale, scheduled to take place 13th-14th August. For further informatio­n, and to register for bidding, visit today.

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