One of Porsche’s most historically significant race cars will be up for auction soon.
The first ever example of the legendary Porsche 917 Can-Am racecar is set to go under the gavel at RM Sotheby’s Paris sale early next month and could fetch nearly $6-million.
The prototype, chassis number 917/10-001, played a crucial role in the development of the successful 917, which gave Porsche its first ever overall Le Mans wins.
Completed on December 3, 1970, the car served as the wind tunnel test car at Porsche’s Weissach R&D facility and also participated in a 23-day test on the skidpad and a 16-month on-track testing program. The car was used as an engine development mule as well and was fitted with a number of naturally aspirated and turbocharged flat-12 engines throughout its lifetime.
Following its days as a Porsche test car, chassis 917/10-001 was sold to Willi Kauhsen, one of the test drivers for the 917 program. Kauhsen had the car fitted with a customer spec body and entered it in the 1972 Hockenheim Interserie and a number of other small races. The German came in second at Hockenheim and managed to win a race in Brazil in the car, but despite entering it in other events throughout the 1972 and 1973 racing seasons, it would never claim another win.
Kauhsen retired 917/10-001 at the end of the 1973 racing season and kept it in storage until 1997. He demonstrated the car at historic racing events before he sold it to a collector in 2008. The current owner took possession in 2012 and had the car returned to its period-correct wind tunnel body specification and also had a 630 horsepower naturally aspirated 5.0-liter flat-12 engine fitted.
Today, the Group 7 racer retains its original tube-frame chassis and is presented in period-correct form with the classic Gulf Oil livery. RM Sotheby’s estimates the historic Group 7 racer to fetch 4.6-million to 5.5-million euros at auction, equivalent to about $5-million to $5.8-million USD. Check out the listing at this link for additional information and photos.