A Porsche 917K delivered in the Gulf goes up for auction at RM Sotheby’s

Pray for silence please, for the Gulf liveries Porsche 917K that David Hobbs and Mike Hailwood raced at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans is going to be up for auction. The estimate? Somewhere between $ 16 and $ 18.5 million. (P769-890 million)

The 917K was of course introduced in 1970 after drivers found the original 917 to be nearly impossible to drive at high speeds. K for Kurzheck, which is German for “short tail”.

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Now this 917K (chassis # 26 and carrying race # 22) was one of three cars entered by JW Automotive Engineering at Le Mans in 1970. All three were dressed in that light blue and Gulf orange livery, but no .22 was unique in having an all orange roof as opposed to the simple strip of the other cars. It also used the smaller (and more reliable) 4.5-liter flatbed 4.5-liter engine, while the other two used the enlarged 4.9-liter unit.

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Hobbs and Isle of Man TT legend Hailwood completed 49 laps before Hailwood hydroplaned and crashed. In fact, the weather was so bad at La Sarthe that year, only seven cars technically finished the race. Porsche, however, took its first victory at Le Mans thanks to the red and white 917K from Porsche Salzburg.

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Chassis No.26 was then rebuilt by Porsche as one of three 917 Spyders destined for the German InterSerie Championship. It was raced by private Ernst Kraus in 1971/72, before moving on to Georg Loos and his Gelo Racing Team for 1973.

It was taken out of racing in 1974, but you can also recognize this car even from the 1971 Steve McQueen film Le Mansbecause he featured heavily in the race footage. It has since had three owners, the most recent having restored the car to its coupe form and Le Mans livery.

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It will cross the block at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale in August. A little special, this one.

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NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor changes have been made.

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