Steve McQueen's 1970 Porsche 917K set to fetch $18.5M in auction

Steve McQueen's 1970 Porsche 917K set to fetch $18.5M in auction

July 15, 2021

‘The greatest sports car of its generation’ up for auction: 1970 Porsche 917K driven by Steve McQueen in the film ‘Le Mans’ set to fetch $18.5M when sold by Sotheby’s in August

  • Car collectors will bid for vehicle made famous in the 1971 film ‘Le Mans’ 
  • Iconic 1970 Porsche 917K crossed the finish line in McQueen’s classic racing film
  • Footage of the car’s race at the in 1970 Le Mans 24 Hour used in the movie
  • Car has been fully restored to its former glory ahead of auction
  • Another McQueen ‘Le Mans’ Porsche sold for $14 million in 2017  

The 1970 Porsche 917K driven by the late Steve McQueen in the classic racing film ‘Le Mans’ will be put up for auction next month – and could fetch more than $18million.

The legendary car played a starring role in the 1971 film and is cited by racing fans as perhaps the ‘greatest sports car of its generation’ during a time when speed took priority over safety in the world of racing.  

While multiple Porsches were used in the film, it was the footage of this car’s run in the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hour, the race the film is based on, that was used in the movie. 

The car was used in the winning shot when McQueen crossed the finish line.  

The 1970 Porsche 917K that crossed the finish line in Steve McQueen’s ‘Le Mans’ is set to fetch more than $18M at auction next month

McQueen, seen above, used several Porsches during the classic film

After being damaged in a crash and remodeled as a 917 Spyder, the car has been restored to its former glory  

If sold for $18.5 million, the car would be not only the most expensive Porsche ever sold in the world, beating out another McQueen ‘Le Mans’ Porsche sold for $14 million in 2017

The sports car represents the culmination of Porsche’s engineering at the time as the company sought to take its first victory at the 1970 race, according to the auction’s site. 

The 917 was one of Porsche’s most successful race cars, dominating European sports-car racing and the North American Can-Am Series, according to Motor Authority. 

The car was driven by David Hobbs and Mike Hailwood, who were able to secure third place after the first four hours of the race until Hailwood refused a pit stop heavy rain hit the course. 

Hailwood eventually lost control of the vehicle during the 49th lap and slid into another car. The Porsche suffered only light damage, but it was enough to take it out of the race.   

The sports car, however, was center stage in the film as it led McQueen to victory, immortalizing the vehicle in the eyes of moviegoers. 

Steve McQueen was only 50 when he died

McQueen died from a heart attack in 1980, in Juarez, Mexico.   

After the race and film, the sports car was rebuilt into a 917 Spyder at the Porsche factory and was raced for years until it was eventually bought by the late Michael Amalfitano in 1987. 

The Porsche collector from Florida restored the car to its classic form and raced it at Porsche’s 50th Anniversary races in 1998 and the Rennsport Reunion III at Daytona in 2007. 

After Amalfitano’s death in 2009, the car was further restored and it’s Spyder bodywork accompanies it as a modification piece. 

The car will be up for auction and on display from Aug. 13 to 14. 

This is not the only McQueen ‘Le Mans’ car to be up for sale. Another Porsche was sold for $14 million at a California auction in 2017. 

In early 2020, McQueen’s iconic 1968 Bullitt Mustang sold for $3.7 million at the Mecum Kissimmee 2020 auction, and stands as the second-most expensive Ford Mustang sold in the world.

The green Mustang made famous in the 1968 movie ‘Bullitt’ starring Steve McQueen sold for $3.7 million


The original 1968 Ford Mustang ‘Bullitt’ movie car is shown on display at the Ford exhibit at the 2018 North American International Auto Show

How do you start a 1970 Porsche 917K? 

You need to follow specific guidelines to start this iconic car 

  • If it’s cold out, plug in the oil heater to help the engine’s fluid warm up (an engine oil level check is mandatory if you want to avoid lunching the race motor)
  • Engage both master switches
  • A jump battery is normally used to help the onboard battery so the latter isn’t drained 
  • Turn the key 
  • When starting from cold, do not rev the engine too high
  • Hold the throttle linkage by hand to maintain 2500 rpm until the engine oil comes heats up

If you follow all the steps correctly, the car will start up without a problem

Source: The Drive  

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