This is the Gulf-liveried Porsche 917K driven by the David Hobbs and multiple World Champion motorcycle star, Mike Hailwood race paring at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans and it’s heading to auction with a jaw-dropping $18,500,000 price tag attached to it…
Racing and motorsport enthusiasts will remind you (even if you already know) the 917K was introduced in 1970 and the K stands for Kurzheck or ‘short tail’ in German and is one of the most iconic cars to ever grace the asphalt.
This particular 1970 Porsche 917K, chassis no. 917 031/026, is the very car that contested the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans in the hands of Hailwood and Hobbs. The racing demon still looks the dog’s dangly bits today dressed in the full blue and orange Gulf livery. The word ‘iconic’ doesn’t really even come close to doing it justice… hell, it was even the car that featured in much of the original racing footage used in Steve McQueen’s Le Mans movie which stands up to any criticism.
Gulf-liveried Porsche 917K
Chassis ‘026’ was one of three constructed to compete in the famous 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans race entries of the JW Automotive Engineering / Gulf Racing team and was easily distinguished for having a different version of the Gulf livery, as its entire roof was sprayed orange down to the beltline, in contrast to the orange centerline stripe of its sister cars.
Still wearing the troublesome race number ‘22’, its driver pairing was David Hobbs and multiple World Champion motorcycle star, Mike Hailwood. In difficult, wet conditions, the car completed 49 laps, running as high as 3rd overall at one point, but on the 50th lap, Hailwood aquaplaned and crashed, retiring the car for the duration of the race.
Following Le Mans, the chassis was repaired by the factory and subsequently re-numbered ‘031’, being rebodied as a Porsche 917 Spyder with lightweight open bodywork intended to contest the 1972 European InterSerie Championship, for Group 7 sports racing cars.
Gord Duff, Global Head of Auctions:
“The Gulf Oil Porsche 917K is essentially the holy grail of competition cars. Its inclusion in our upcoming Monterey auction is nothing short of spectacular and we are thrilled to be able to present the 917K to our clients at the auction where they can fully appreciate it in person. It represents the very best of motorsport history and heritage from an era of legendary cars and drivers, it will forever be a movie star in its own right. To me, it is truly a magnificent machine that has no comparison.”
The current owner purchased the car in its Spyder form over ten years ago and has since thrown a fortune at the machine, returning it to its original and seminal, Gulf-liveried Le Mans coupe specification.
There’s nothing quite like the automotive symphony of the boxer-engined 12 cylinder at full chat, but this could turn out to be an expensive day out for someone looking to add an icon to their expensive collection of racing cars – The Gulf-liveried Porsche 917K has an estimate of $16,000,000 – $18,500,000…
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