The Porsche 917 is certainly one of the most iconic cars of all time. Of the sixty-five built between 1969 and 1973, some have an impressive racing history, others a more modest one. Some 917s saw special duty, like the beastly 917/10 and 917/30 built specifically for the American CanAm series. Another 917 was made street-legal for Count Rossi, and some have a very special history, like 917 #013 that we encountered a few weeks ago on the French autodrome of Montlhéry.
Chassis number #013 was built in 1969, and is thus one of the first twenty-five examples completed for the CSI (Commission Sportive Internationale, then the independent competition arm of the FIA) homologation, this mythical homologation as Ferdinand Piëch explained: the Porsche Motorsport team was very late, and under-estimated the time they needed to complete all the cars. So, on April 20th, when the CSI inspectors arrived, for the second time, to see the needed twenty-five cars, some cars had wooden brake calipers, some others had parts glued on and beginning to slip off, some had fake engines, etc. When Piëch offered the inspectors the opportunity to take any for a test drive, they declined, thankfully. Still, the development of the 917 took only ten months from concept to homologation and featured Porsche's first-ever twelve-cylinder engine.
Once built and functional, #013 was converted to a 1970 917K (kurzheck, or short tail) as a result of John Wyer Engineering's aerodynamic work to make the 917 easier to handle. Apparently, the very first cars were considered rolling coffins by the factory drivers, who were absolutely terrified of the 917's high speed handling and didn't want to drive them.