It’s rare that an original Gulf Racing-coloured Porsche 917 even sees the light of day, let alone comes up for sale. Naturally then, when a mint-condition 917k came up for sale at this month’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, people went batsh*t crazy.
Better yet, this particular chassis (#024 to be exact), first built in 1968 and lovingly taken care of over the past 40 years, was driven by Steve McQueen himself in the film Le Mans. The original mount points for the cameras used in production are still there.
The car has quite the history, both before and after McQueen used it. Originally built as part of Porsche’s Le Mans campaigns in 1970 and 1971, #o24 was a testing vehicle for the development of the original 917, used by Porsche to fine tune the chassis’ that eventually took part in both races.
After being built, #024 was purchased by motorcycle racer Jo Siffert, who drove the car to victory under Porsche’s banner in 4 championship races, racking up podium finishes in another 7. However, Siffert was killed when, after winning a race in a BRM he was driving at another time, the suspension failed on his victory lap. #024 led the funeral procession.
After Siffert’s death, #024’s original engine is thought to have been sent back to Porsche, and it laid dormant under the ownership of a french collector from 1978 to 2001. It was eventually found that year in a disused warehouse, meaning it’s technically one of the greatest barn finds in history.
Under the stewardship of Meridian Motorsport and Switzerland’s Graber Sportgarage, #024 has been restored over the last 15 years to exact factory specifications, using factory documents from the 60’s obtained from Porsche. It’s original engine was even replaced with it’s closest possible counterpart, the engine from chassis #021.
The price paid for all the history, the prestige and the rarity? #024 sold for a cool US $14 Million, and to us, it’s not all that hard to see why.
All images: Gooding & Co.