The Road Is The Last Place You’d Expect To See A Porsche 917

Porsche says that some 70 percent of the vehicles it has ever made in its history are still on the road today. Yet that’s the last place you’d expect to see a 917.

Arguably the most legendary of Porsche’s racers, the 917 is the model in which it took the first two of its record 19 victories at Le Mans. In the span of three years, it built about three dozen of them. And they were all built strictly for racing, not for use on public roads. But a few, like this one, have been certified to drive on the street.

917K #037 belongs to one Claudio Roddaro, a resident of Monte Carlo who drives it regularly. And as you might have guessed, it wasn’t an easy process to get that permission. In fact it took about two months of navigating the bureaucracy to get it approved.

Never Raced, Only Street

Roddaro had to prove that his 917 was identical to the one that had previously been registered by Count Rossi. (He of the Martini & Rossi vermouth brand that famously sponsored the Porsche team, among so many others.) Fortunately the factory was only too eager to help, assisting with the documentation necessary. The automaker also helped with the restoration process that left Roddaro’s – the last example ever made, and never raced – as perhaps the most original example on road or track.

Built in 1971, Roddaro’s 917K packs a 4.9-liter boxer twelve capable of producing around 600 horsepower. That’s more than a modern 911 Turbo S in a vehicle that weighs less than half of what even the lighter GT3 does. In fact, at just 600 kilograms (1,323 lbs), it boasts a perfect 1:1 power-to-weight ratio. Just like some modern Koenigseggs, but with less power and less weight. Not bad for a vehicle already nearly half a century old.

Porsche reports that, aside from Roddaro’s (#037) and Rossi’s (#030), only one other 917 was ever registered for the road. That was chassis #021, it was “a long time ago, and only briefly.” We don’t envy the hoops their owners had to go through, but we do envy the outcome. Because as tricky as it must be driving this classic racer in traffic, it must be one heck of a ride.

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