Porsche 917 - am I crazy?

Hi all

I've been thinking (lusting) over the thought of owning a Porsche 917 for quite some time and have spoken to Peter Bailey about their cars a couple of times in the past. I am therefore thinking quite seriously about selling my Aston Martin and buying a fully built car as I can't help thinking how amazing it would be to have a 917 sat alongside my GT40 (my 2 dream cars). However there is the issue of the practical use of such a car here in the UK.

The car would only be used as a track car as I think it would be extremely difficult to get it through an IVA test and modify it for road use so the main question I need to answer is whether it would be worth it for limited use? There is also the question around safety which always crops up in 917 conversation and whether that factor would influence how much I could push/enjoy the car on track.

Again I like the concept of eventually having my GT40 as weekend road car for events etc and then a 917 for taking to track events but I am just looking through my rose tinted computer monitor? As always any advice welcome.

 
Trevor, if you are crazy, i'm crazy too....

I'm thinking exactly like you.
i was in touch with Peter bailey few years ago.
and I'm dreaming about 917 track car every day...

my wife said "the house was no wide enough"....Okay, we have changed to a wider house. But there was no garage....

Not an issue, we are building a new 6 cars garage....
By the end of the year everything should be ready to receive a 917....

I have to sell my 993....

and Peter will get an order (kit form for me)

while waiting, i'm thinking about which engine/trans, tires/wheels, etc...
(a lots of technical books...)

I even wrote a blog about 917 replica (in french sorry)
http://917lm.blogspot.fr

Yes i'm crazy too.....:drunk:
 
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Thanks for the reply Thierry, glad to know that I am not alone. I am lucky enough to currently have the space but my wife wants us to have kids soon so if the 917 is going to happen it needs to be before the end of the year too.

I did think about ordering in kit form but I just can't live with 2 unfinished cars so would rather opt for a finished car and then keep focused on getting the GT40 finished.

Let me know if/when you order your kit. Also out of interest how often to you see yourself using the car per year? Do you currently do many track days?
 
When I was single, I had a Porsche 993 RSR which I use for club racing and track days.
10 to 14 weekend (saturday and sunday) a year.
Today, with 2 kids a house to finish (Home theater room, Pool room,..) and a wife..., it's more 4 to 6 weekends. (budget and time)
 
LOL safety

If you don't mind spending $150k to be essentially stuffed inside of a sardine can a few times a year, go for it. I did.

It's a different animal than a gt40 or slc or similar imho - when I've been in a gt40 I think 'oh, this is a nice car, more than livable to go cruising around the countryside'. But a 917 is like 'fvck me, this is scary'.

Still piddling away on mine, but 700hp, insta-torque crossram manifold, me thinks it's going to specialize just driving up and down my driveway and that's about it, lol



oh yea, and LOL safety
 
Very nice Alex, that's a beautiful looking car. Do you have some more pictures and which kit are you building?
 
You do not have to go so far to have an 917 kit to built ;
There one member ( Mr noo) there who did a splendid work doing all molds and his mate owner of an holland brand of kit is doing the laser kit tube !!!
They plan to install a Porsche speedster engine and gear box ( as they are in good position)
they did also an excellent work in trying to have foots behind the front axle without changing anything on the bodywork
They plan to have the car IVA homologated
Just watch their thread !!!!!!
So your dream can be a realty ........ if you are enought motivated to work hard on this project !!!!!!!!
good luck
 
You do not have to go so far to have an 917 kit to built ;
There one member ( Mr noo) there who did a splendid work doing all molds and his mate owner of an holland brand of kit is doing the laser kit tube !!!
They plan to install a Porsche speedster engine and gear box ( as they are in good position)
they did also an excellent work in trying to have foots behind the front axle without changing anything on the bodywork
They plan to have the car IVA homologated
Just watch their thread !!!!!!
So your dream can be a realty ........ if you are enought motivated to work hard on this project !!!!!!!!
good luck
Have been following the progress of the car but looks like too much work for me. Although it would be nice to get a car through IVA I'd rather just have someone like Bailey build one for me.
 
Trevor,

the Bailey car is very well built, but sadly lacks in original accuracy.

You will always be very vunerable in one as they are inherently a dangerous car.

As I said many years ago, a 917 is like a scalded cat on steroids, compared to a GT40 which is like a comfortable sofa.

Building a 917 will consume at least double the amount of a 40 if you want accuracy and it will consume far, far more time in maintainance due to its delicacy.

Competition wise, you will have to be carefull as to how you build it and what powerplant you put in it, if you want to be eligible for UK/European circuit racing.

Do some real detailed research into the 917 before committing yourself, and forget about it if you are tall !!!!!

Last out with mine at Brands Hatch Speedfest, but ECU went down and messed qualifying and two races up.
 

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Thanks for the information Graham. I've read through many of your previous posts where you talk about the ownership/driving experience of the 917.

I definitely wont be building one, as you say too much time required. Also I am not sure I will be using it for racing but more as a trackday car initially. I read some of your previous posts that finding suitable race championships in the UK for replicas is quite difficult so can I ask which you race in and how often you compete?

As for Bailey's car, I am well aware that despite the extra efforts of making these cars stronger and safer than the originals that they still have to be treated with respect and are potentially dangerous. However I think we all take a risk driving GT40's on the road, as let's be honest they are not exactly safe and even other classic cars just wouldn't hold up in an accident. Last year I restored a 1963 Ford Anglia. It had no seat belts and if another driver had hit me in that car it would certainly have been a very serious accident as they just weren't built to take much damage.

I've sent another email off to Bailey today with a few additional questions so waiting to hear what they say.
 

Fran Hall RCR

Moderator
Cheers Keith..

that's one of mine that Alex is finishing.

We have a couple in build at the shop for one of our dealers in Florida actually...turnkey minus Martini and a Heritage color one..(cant call it G*lf officially)
 
I think you should "crack on" Trevor!!!! Just bought a Vantage like you, love it although lives on the rev limiter, feels a bit slow now I'm used to it!
Yes, 917…..!!! It hinges on what you want from it, you say road and track, agreed especially with our creation there will be a lot of work required to complete it, much like Mic's 908, the way I went about our car was the thinking that some people will want to do certain things with the car, they will want to add their own odds and ends and do some things to their liking because lets face it, the way I make things may not appeal to the way someone else would make the same, despite pondering for an age on the best way of doing things.
I will add if it was easy then everyone would have one so a bit of pain for a bit of gain.
Hope to have mine running this time next year, maybe not IVA'd but running, headlight height is a major issue for iva here. Front end strength is also a concern and hopefully I have made things plenty strong enough around the front of our car but we shall see.
There is a member on here who is using the pre production chassis I created (modified to suit his needs) with a V10 going into it and another gent is putting a 996 turbo engine in one here in England. So they are going to be circa 500bhp and I think will be missiles, putting 350bhp in mine and think that'l be plenty fast enough, also have a potential customer who is wanting to put 750bhp in one of our kits, I cannot even fathom how fast that will be but am sure it'll chew a few tires to sheds and sure will be fun!!!
Also it hinges on cost too, you can get a rough kit, chassis, body, uprights etc, all the bare bones for not a huge amount of money or you can spend quite a bit more for a complete car, you pays ya money and takes ya chance!
With any luck there will be enough of these replicas that one day we may be able to have our own grid!!
 
I also will add Trevor that we have quite a few enquiries regarding fully built cars, to that end we have been in contact with two companies who could do this but we are at early stages as am mindful that I need to get off my arse and complete my car, check it all functions correctly then proceed. But we are some way off this as I'm sure you'll be aware following our thread.
Am sure the Bailey car will be fantastic!! Good luck.
 

Howard Jones

Supporter
When I was at the pull the trigger meeting on my SLC with Fran in his shop, I damn near changed my mind and did a 917 instead. I really came close. If I didn't have a GT40 already I would have for sure.

My reasoning? GT40s are marginal when it comes to having a full size passenger on board at the track. Just not quite enough shoulder room. They are very tight with two jacket size 48 people side by side. ALL the other 917s I have looked at, seam much tighter than my GTD and even the RCR version doesn't look much wider inside. When compared to the SLC interior theirs really no comparison. One of the reasons for building a second car was to be able to take ride along's on track so this put the 917 off the table for me and I bought a SLC.

But the RCR version would be doable for two small people AND the construction method, using that big aluminum foot box and forward chassis section really makes the car safe. If you get to look at a real 917 check out the crash protection in front of the driver. Damn near none.........really. As a matter of fact the real cars are not safe in todays terms at all. The bigger solid chassis that is used on the RCR version is about as safe as can be done without using very high cost materials like carbon.

As far as building a track car, think about this. Lets say you take it to the track 6 times a year for a weekend. You are there all day and do 5 or 6 sessions a day. When the weekend is up you will have had enough for awhile. The you do it again a month or two later. You will have a great time , meet a lot of really cool people, travel a bit and enjoy the hobby on the off days doing a bit of maintenance on the car.

You will get your moneys worth and in a decade of so you can sell it for the money you have in it more or less. Hard to beat that. Besides if you don't do it in this life.......well when? As long as family commitments are made and you have the resources GO FOR IT!

Oh and just think of the reaction you will get at Porsche club track days. Believe me they will just shit!
 
Thanks for the information Graham. I've read through many of your previous posts where you talk about the ownership/driving experience of the 917.

I definitely wont be building one, as you say too much time required. Also I am not sure I will be using it for racing but more as a trackday car initially. I read some of your previous posts that finding suitable race championships in the UK for replicas is quite difficult so can I ask which you race in and how often you compete?

However I think we all take a risk driving GT40's on the road, as let's be honest they are not exactly safe and even other classic cars just wouldn't hold up in an accident.
........................................................................

Trevor,

let us not beat around the bush about safety.

The GT 40 is on another planet ,compared to the 917, for safety. A 40 is an immensely strong and reliable vehicle and will take a lot of flack. The fact that so many have been produced and sell so easily says that people trust and use them quite happily. From 1969 how many 917s have been made or run regularly on the road !!!??? There is a clue there.
There can be no comparison, and through a lot of experience I would sooner be in a 40 in ANY sort of accident. Doing all you can to strengthen and cocoon yourself in a 917 will still not make it anywhere as safe as a 40, or most other sports cars of that ilk.

At 65 and "old school", with experience and knowledge of these cars since 1969 I do know just a little about the whole package. I find it amazing, almost laughable, that people are putting such outlandish power packs into these replica 917s when they have no experience of what the 917 was, or is about, and the fact that they want to have them on the road, especially over here, where a majority of roads are simply not up to running relatively light weight construction cars on them. The same thing happens on race tracks where wealthy drivers go out and purchase powerful cars with no experience of the power.

I have, over the years, been asked to build or supply parts for 917s to literally hundreds of enquirers. Most times, when I have shown them under the front hatch and they have seen how vunerable the entire front end is, the phrase "f.....g hell" I,m not driving that" has been the most common one used. I took a deposit cheque from someone who was all full of it and wanted a "track day warrior 917" but had no idea of the car, other than the Steve McQueen image. He too used those words and needless to say I handed his cheque back and bade him farewell.

Vision out of them is great, providing you are just going forward and are on relatively flat surface and there are no other cars about!!!!!!!!!! Because you lie down in them, I promise you that you can lose complete vision of the road ahead in the right circumstances. Even on a race track such as Spa, climbing out of Eau Rouge you lose all surface vision for a few seconds. So I shudder to think what certain roads could have in store !!!!

All I can say finally is to anyone, by all means build up one BUT please, please, please really do your homework on the 917, take ten steps backwards, before taking one forward, and be prepared for big outlay, both financially and mentally, especially if you are looking for relatively original looking car.

Couple more recent shots of vunerability. One at Classic LeMans last month and the Carlos Monteverdi replica (ex David Piper) kerb nudging and digging in front, and my 917 dwarfed by a colleagues Toyota at Brands.
 

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