Porsche 917 From The Movie “Le Mans” For Sale

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A Porsche 917 that was used in the Steve McQueen movie “Le Mans” is going to be up for auction in August by RM Sotheby’s. The 917 was never driven by McQueen in the movie but is seen throughout the 1971 flick.

Chassis No. 026 was entered in the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans race by JW Automotive Engineering and the Gulf Racing Team with David Hobbs and Mike Hailwood splitting the driving duties. After running in the Top 3 Hailwood spun out on lap 50, crashed the 917 and the race was over for chassis No. 026.

Sotheby’s has the early estimate for this iconic 917 at $16,000,000 – $18,500,000. It has been fully restored and was used for racing throughout Europe in the early 1970s.

A similar 917 that was used in “Le Mans” was sold for $14,080,000 by Gooding & Company in 2017.

“The Gulf Oil Porsche 917K is essentially the holy grail of competition cars.” – Gord Duff, Sotheby’s 

LE MANS, FRANCE – January 01: Actor Steve McQueen as racing driver Michael Delaney is seen wearing a Rolex Submariner watch whilst on set for the film ‘Le Mans’ circa June 1970 in Le Mans, France. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

“Le Mans” is one of my favorite car movies (Note: “Car movies” is an all-encompassing term I use for flicks that are centered around cars or motor sports.) and I usually watch it a couple of times a year. Viewing usually coincides with the actual 24 Hours of Le Mans, I watch it before the race to get hyped for one of my favorite motor sports spectacles.

The movie is boring for those not interested in motor sports or cars. This is likely based on the minimal dialogue in the first 30-minutes and how it sorta’ has a plot but nothing too deep. It feels like a documentary interspliced with some movie clips. In that way it feels like “Framing John DeLorean”, with Alec Baldwin playing the iconic gearhead but with a lot of real footage to tell the overall story.

Side tangent: “Framing John DeLorean” is pretty dope and an interesting experiment in film making by taking real news footage and interviews from the archives and then using actors to dramatize major events in DeLorean’s life. This method worked and Baldwin is great as DeLorean.

I watch “Le Mans” for the racing scenes, I think most people do, and the storyline is functional as a means to keep the movie moving forward. McQueen is good and Louise Edlind does a great job in a supporting role but “Le Mans” is just eye candy for racing fans.

Truthfully the documentary about the production of “Le Mans” is better than the actual movie. “Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans” explores the making of “Le Mans” and dives into all of the minutiae of McQueen’s obsession to make the ultimate motor sports movie. The backstory of “Le Mans” and the aftermath of its production is more interesting than the movie.

Yes, I realize that I besmirched one of my favorite movies but I am trying to be as forthcoming as possible. With that said, if I had Powerbell money I would buy that 917.

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