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News18 » Auto
1-min read

Rare 24-Hours Le Mans Winning Porsche 917 Converted to a Street Legal Car

In order to get his 917K approved for road use, Claudio had to prove that it was identical to the Rossi car.


Updated:April 20, 2018, 1:05 PM IST
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Porsche 917
Road legal Porsche 917. (Image: Porsche)

Monaco resident Claudio Roddaro - an avid collector, and driver, of rare Porsche racers - bought a 917-037 in 2016 and this affable young amateur racer has realised the 24-carat fantasy harboured by most of us diehard Porsche fanatics, by not only owning a genuine 917, but by making it road-legal. Now this is not an easy thing to achieve with a 40-something Le Mans sports prototype.

However, a pair of genuine 917s had previously been road-registered, one, chassis number 917-021, and the other famous no. 030 car, owned by the late Count Rossi, the Italian nobleman who masterminded Martini’s famous sponsorship tie-in with Porsche. And it was this car that would come to Claudio’s rescue.

Porsche This Porsche is only the 2nd road-legal 917. (Image: Porsche)

In order to get his 917K approved for road use, Claudio had to prove that it was identical to the Rossi car. The unfinished 037 chassis was acquired by Germany coachbuilder Baur in the late 1970s and the car remained unbuilt for decades.

It was eventually sold to a US collector who instigated its assembly in the hands of Carl Thompson at Gunnar Racing in Long Beach. In April 2004, more than thirty years after its life began, 917-037 made its rather overdue public debut at the Rennsport Reunion in Daytona.

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Throughout its life, however, Porsche had 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. This would make it the final build, and because it was made up of around 95 percent original Porsche parts, also the most original 917 in existence – an assertion helped enormously by the fact that it was never raced in period, and therefore never crashed.

Its 4.9-litre air-cooled flat-twelve engine was, and still is, good for in the region of 600bhp, serious stuff even among today’s lofty supercar hierarchy. But this is a car that weighs just 600kg, well under half the weight of a current 911 GT3. And that, of course, means achieving the hallowed 1000bhp/tonne.

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| Edited by: Arjit Garg
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