Yes, This Is a 1969 Porsche 917 K Being Driven on the Public Roads of California
16 May 2021 - autoevolution
Headquartered in Scotts Valley of California, the peeps at Canepa specialize in classic cars and collector cars from the distant past.
The driving force behind this go-faster shop with international recognition is Bruce Canepa, an old but lovely man who has competed in IMSA GT, Trans Am, sprint car racing, super modifieds, and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
Bruce is a sucker for all things Porsche, more so if we’re talking about the 917 series. Designed to dominate the World Sportscar Championship and Can-Am, the mid-engined land missile gave the German automaker its first overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970. All told, the legendary brand won the most celebrated endurance event a whopping 19 times.
Porsche manufactured 25 units of the 917 and 12 examples of the 917K, and that letter stands for Kurzheck. Essentially a 917 with a shorter tail, the K drives better thanks to the upswept design and vertical fins.
Bruce owns two such cars, and chassis number 004/017 has been recently driven on public roads by Mr. Canepa following a three-year restoration. From the flat-12 engine to the high-strength tubular frame, not a single bolt was left untouched on this multi-million-dollar blast from the glorious past.
This Gulf Oil-painted monster is estimated to cost in the ballpark of $15 million at the very least, probably $20 million tops. In other words, Bruce’s little stroll is all the more special to mere mortals in F-150s and dime-a-dozen crossovers. Heck, this incredible racing car could very well cost more than the most expensive new car ever sold: Bugatti’s opulent La Voiture Noire.
Featured in the cult classic Le Mans film starring Steve McQueen, chassis number 004/017 started life out as 004 until it was crashed on lap 177 of the B.O.A.C. 1000 Km at Brands Hatch in 1970. The chassis was returned to Porsche in exchange for the 017, which received the tag from the 004.
The most recognizable and most likely the most expensive Porsche 917 of them all is yours to enjoy in the following seven-minute-long video.