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This Magnificent 1970 Porsche 917/10 Prototype is For Sale

Submitted by on November 1, 2016

1970 Porsche 917/10 Prototype

Images via Jan B. Lühn

This 1970 Porsche 917/10 Prototype is a unique and fascinating machine. Built by Porsche for their own testing and development, it went on to have an extensive and successful racing career. It’s up for sale at Jan B. Lühn.

The car is Porsche 917/10-001. Built in December of 1970 for testing and development, the car went straight to aero testing in Porsche’s Weissach wind tunnel in January.

That summed up much of its early life – Porsche deployed it in a testing and development programme in June of 1971 and it would be October of 1972 when it finally came out, having tested extensively at their Weissach facilities as well as Hockenheim and the Nürburgring. Willi Kauhsen was behind the wheel for much of that work and was joined by Mark Donohue, Herrman Mimler and Jo Siffert.

917/10-001 was responsible for turbocharged engine tests and endurance runs and tested extensively with twin rear wheels. Its time in the wind tunnel resulted in three sets of bodywork that were used on 917-10s. One was used on Jo Siffert’s 1971 STP Can-Am car, the second became the customer specification and the third was the factory ‘shovel nose’ body.

1970 Porsche 917/10 Prototype

After the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1971 the nose of Pedro Rodriguez and Jackie Oliver’s Gulf Porsche 917LH, which had qualified on pole but retired from the race, was fitted to the car. This is the format in which the car is presented today.

Following its testing duties, the car was rebuilt by Porsche’s factory racing department and sold to Willi Kauhsen, who would go on to own it for over three and a half decades.

917/10-001 made its racing debut in the 1972 Hockenheim Interserie, now fitted with a customer-spec nose. Kauhsen drove the car to second place. It would then go racing in Can-Am, with Kausen retiring from the second-last round of the season at Laguna Seca and finishing 8th in the season finale at Riverside.

The end of the year would see the car heading south to race in the Copa Brasil, invited by the Fittipaldi brothers – Emerson and Wilson Fittipaldi Júnior. Kauhsen achieved the car’s career best finish there, winning the Interlagos race.

1970 Porsche 917/10 Prototype

Kauhsen bought 917/10-015 in 1973 and began to race it alongside 10-001, hiring 10-001 out when he drove the new car. This saw it running in RC Crown Cola livery with Charlie Kemp on board at Imola and back in Bosch colours at Silverstone, where Gunther Stekkonig drove it to sixth.

Wilson Fittipaldi Junior drove the car in practice for the Interserie Hockenheim, taking the opportunity to get a handle on a turbocharged Porsche race car. Kauhsen took over for the main event and would take sixth in the first heat and win the second for a fourth overall finish.

The car would take a breather after that race, not returning to the track until mid-way through 1974 when it ran in the Nürburgring 300 Kilometers. This time it would be driven by Emerson Fittipaldi in Reflefsen’s white, red and blue colours. Fittipaldi put the car on pole, but would finish the race in sixth.

1970 Porsche 917/10 Prototype

With that, the car went into retirement. Kauhsen put it in dry storage and there it stayed until 1997, when it received a two-year restoration back to yellow and red Bosch livery.

Kauhsen then began demonstrating the car at historic racing events, showing it at Goodwood, the Nürburgring, Daytona and Brands Hatch. During this time it was also placed on exhibition in the beautiful Musée du Circuit de Spa Francorchamps in Stavelot and featured on the front cover of Motor Sport Magazine with a track test.

Kauhsen sold the car to Dr. Ulrich Schumacher in 2008, who continued to demonstrate it at Hockenheim and Goodwood, as well as the Ennstal Classic in Salzburg where it was driven by Formula 1 legend Gerhard Berger.

1970 Porsche 917/10 Prototype

Schumacher sold it a few years later in 2012. Its new owner showed it in the Concours d’élégance automobile à Saint-Raphaël, where it won Best Race Car, and then commissioned another full restoration.

During this restoration its beastly 1100 horsepower 4.5-litre turbocharged motor was swapped for a 600 horsepower naturally aspirated flat twelve. While not quite as fearsome as the turbo variant, this flat twelve matches the 917/10’s original factory powerplant and is more manageable in use and maintenance.

Late last year the car was completed in its current Porsche Weissach/Gulf livery to suit its testing specification back in 1972.

1970 Porsche 917/10 Prototype

It’s sold with a large history file including period photographs, magazine and newspaper articles from its time testing and period race career and documentation of its restoration. Its original ONS Wagenpass is included, as is a current FIA Passport.

Having played an integral role in the development of Porsche’s Can-Am cars and the 917 Spyder and with a full and successful period racing history to boot, this is a truly special race car. It’s a usable one as well and will be welcome anywhere good historic race cars are raced.

We hope to see it go to a good home and grace racetracks for many more years to come! For more details, head to the official Jan B. Lühn website here.

Images via Jan B. Lühn

1970 Porsche 917/10 Prototype

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