Rare Porsche 917/30 goes for $4.4 million at auction

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Porsche 917/30

A rare race car, a Porsche 917/30, recently sold for $4.4 million at auction, the most ever paid for any Porsche. Photo Credit: Detectandpreserve/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA

A lineup of rare Porsches recently went before the auction block at Gooding and Co.’s Amelia Island auction. Among other lots, one of four Porsche 917/30 race cars commanded top dollar, as the 1,000-horsepower monster commanded $4.4 million on the block.

Slate of rare Porsches

For more than half a century, Porsche has been the standard by which sports cars are judged. Any sports car that the maker wants to be taken seriously is invariably compared against the 911. The company also has a serious pedigree in motor sport, having been a dominant presence in touring car racing for some time.

A lineup of rare Porsches recently went before the auction block at the Amelia Island auction by Gooding and Co., according to USA Today, with several lots commanding more than $1 million. Eleven world records were set for the highest price ever paid for a Porsche. Among the lots were a 1955 550/1500 RS Spyder, the same model James Dean was driving when he was killed, which went for almost $3.7 million.

The showpiece

The show piece was an ultra-rare Porsche 917/30, an insanely powerful variant of a car with a serious racing pedigree. The original 917, according to the Daily Mail, won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 and 1971, ending the Ford GT40’s reign after the Ford had won the race the previous four consecutive years. The 917s in Gulf Oil colors became iconic in their own right.

Porsche modified the 917 for the 1972 Can-Am Challenge, a former touring car race series in venues across Canada and the U.S., producing the 917/30. The 917/30 was powered by a turbo-charged 5.4-liter V-12 which produced between 1,100 and 1,580 horsepower and shot the car from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.3 seconds. The top speed was in excess of 240 miles per hour.

The only piece of safety equipment, according to Wired, is a seat belt.

The 917/30 won the Can-Am Challenge two years in a row, and only lost one race in the 1972 series. In 1974, the rules for the race were changed so all cars had to get at least three miles per gallon, excluding the 917/30 from competition. The one sold at auction was never raced, but it fetched $4.4 million, the most ever paid for any Porsche.

[If it was financed, that would be one of the biggest auto loans ever made]

Unique collection

The collection of 17 classic Porsche cars, according to Wired, were all from the estate of the late Matthew Drendel, who had amassed a collection of 18 turbocharged Porsche race cars before passing away at 35 years of age. The auction of the Drendel collection yielded $36 million, according to the Daily Mail.

The overall auction, according to the Florida Times-Union, involved the sale of more than 70 classic automobiles. According to DeDePorsche, a Porsche enthusiast blog, the 917/30 was rumored to have been bought by Jerry Seinfeld. Seinfeld is known for having an extensive collection.


USA Today

Daily Mail


Florida Times-Union on Jacksonville.com: http://jacksonville.com/community/nassau/2012-03-10/story/porsches-lead-way-amelia-island

dedeporsche: http://dedeporsche.wordpress.com/

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