Starting A Porsche 917 K Takes Time, Practice And A Squirt Of Brake Cleaner
What do you do to start your car? Turn the key in the ignition, or simply press a button? There’s normally not much else to consider, perhaps other than waiting for the cold start to finish or the windscreen to clear. That’s a world away from a 1970s Porsche Le Mans car, which needs a full routine just to get it going. The auction house has released a detailed video, perhaps so that the next owner doesn’t immediately lunch the engine.
First things first, you need to plug the car into the mains, so it looks like an electric car. The 917 is 50 years older than the Porsche Taycan, incidentally. This is so the oil heater warms up to 60 degrees, as it could cause a lot of damage if the oil isn’t at the right temperature.
Once you’ve flicked two master switches (one in the vast engine bay and one inside the cabin), you need to press all the other switches on. Like most racing cars, these are for things like the fuel pumps.
Ready to go? Not yet, there are still a few steps to ensure this beast starts as it should, including one involving brake cleaner – but we’ll leave the video to explain those. It’s also worth watching to the end to hear the beautiful sound of a 917 running.
Most racing cars have specific starting procedures, and in the case of the 917 it’s definitely worth following them to the letter. The Hans Mezger-designed Porsche 917 K won Le Mans back-to-back in 1970 and 1971.
The ‘K’ means it’s the facelift 917, and only 12 were produced in its two winning years. The flat-12 engine is also naturally aspirated, although some other 917s were turbocharged and two were even Spyders.
This 917 K is coming up for auction at RM Sotheby’s Monterey event in mid-August, alongside two Ferrari 250 GTs, a Ferrari F50, a Lamborghini Miura, a Bugatti EB110 Super Sport and an ‘80s Porsche 956 Group C racer. It was the winning car in Steve McQueen’s Le Mans film, raced in the 1970 Le Mans race and has recently been fully restored.
How much do you think it’ll sell for?
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