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Porsche 917 Sets Auction Record

Posted in Automotive Event, Car Auctions, Expensive Cars, General, History, Porsche, Racing by Kurt Ernst | August 19th, 2010 | Leave a Reply |

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1970 Porsche 917

Porsche 917 Interserie Spyder. Photo: Bonham Auctions

Money may be tight everywhere else, but it was certainly flowing at last weekend’s Bonham Auction at Monterey. A Ferrari California Spyder set a record for long wheel based Spyders, selling for $7.26 million. A Tucker sold for $1.128 million, making it the highest price ever paid for a Tucker automobile sold at auction.

The big news, however, was the sale of a Porsche 917 Interserie Spyder, which went for $3.965 million when the hammer dropped, making it the most expensive Porsche ever sold at auction. Known by collectors and fans as chassis 026/031, the car has a rather unique racing history. Originally built as a 917 coupe, the car was campaigned by Gulf-JW Racing in the 1970 24 Hours of LeMans. Driven by David Hobbs and legendary motorcycle racer Mike Hailwood, the car had completed just 50 laps when Hailwood ignored team orders to pit for rain tires. In a torrential downpour, Hailwood lost control of the car when it hydroplaned on standing water, impacting another car that had slid off track. Hailwood emerged unscathed, but the car was unable to be repaired trackside. It was returned to Porsche, where a detailed inspection revealed that it could be rebuilt.

1970 Porsche 917

The car at this year's Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance

To save time, Porsche set aside the damaged frame and transferred the majority of parts from chassis 026, the wrecked car, to chassis 031. To simplify the transfer paperwork, the factory also switched chassis ID numbers: chassis 031, which was brand new, was instead labeled chassis 026. Chassis 026, which was crash damaged, received number plate 031.

Chassis 031 was eventually repaired and built as an open cockpit 917 Spyder, for use in European Interserie events. The car was campaigned from 1971 to 1973, when it was retired. It went through several owners over the years, and was displayed at concours and historical racing events. The car underwent a complete restoration in 2006 – 2007, and sports a period correct, 5.4 liter flat 12 good for 630 horsepower.

Source: Hemmings Blog

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