A quick story about the street legal Porsche 917s #blogpost
It may look completely crazy to see a 917 on the road, but after their racing career, two 917 were converted to road cars, making them the fastest road cars in the 70s until the arrival of the F40.
917-021 - The “Hippie Porsche”
The first 917 I’m going to talk about is the 917-021.
It started its life as a racing car for the Interseries team AAW Racing. It raced on different circuits all over Europe, as Spa and the Nürburgring. It even entered the 24H of Le Mans, were it crashed.
After its racing life, where it won two races, in Zandwoort and at the Keimola Motor Stadium in Finland, the car was dismantled in 1970. The engine and suspension were reused in another 917 and the chassis and bodywork were sold to a Porsche specialist in Germany and forgotten. Some years later, the bodywork was bought by a German restaurant owner who wanted to build a road legal 917.
He modified the car by adding turn signals, switching the Plexiglas to thicker glass and by making the interior more comfortable. Allegedly a hair dryer was used as a defroster.
The car also got a 917 engine and gearbox. For sound restrictions, a silencer was fitted to the exhaust and it was mounted with road legal tyres.
After a lot of paperwork, it received the license plate CW - K 917. Porsche acknowledge the built and gave the car an official manufacturer’s plate.
The car still exists to this day. It was reconverted for racing, so it is no longer road legal. It now lives in Belgium, and regained its original psychedelic green and purple livery.
917-030 - The Count Rossi 917
The second (and only remaining) street legal Porsche is the 917-030.
It was built in 1971 and was part of the official Martini Racing Team. It ran the 1000km race in Zeltweg under number 28 in 1971, were it could have won if a tyre wouldn’t have blown and the car wouldn’t have crashed. In 1971, the 917s were ruled out of high-level European sportscar racing.
Being the first race car fitted with anti-lock brakes, Porsche used it to test ABS systems.
In 1975, it was sold to Count Rossi for 75.000 DM (approximatively 100.000 Euros in today’s money).
The conversion was done at Porsche Motorsport, but was complicated.
In Germany, there was no chance for the car to get a registration. In France, the car could have been road legal but first crash tested. After even asking in Italy where it wasn’t possible, the car got a registration in the state of Alabama (only!).
Count Rossi died in 2003, but the car remained in the family, and hasn’t been reconverted to race mode yet.