There were only 37 Porsche 917s ever built, with the car reaching new heights for Porsche by winning Le Mans in 1970 and 1971, doing exactly what it was designed to do. Something it wasn’t designed to do? Hit the streets. But that didn’t stop Claudio Roddaro from making his 917 street legal in 2016.
There were actually two street legal 917s before Roddaro’s, according to Porsche, with one of those providing a pathway for Roddaro to make his street legal. Here’s Porsche on that specific car:
The other the famous no. 030 car, owned almost from new by the late Count Rossi, the Italian nobleman who masterminded Martini’s famous sponsorship tie-in with Porsche. Via a highly suspect loophole, this all-silver, leather-trimmed Behemoth has remained road-legal ever since it was retired from racing duties in the early 1970s.
Authorities told Roddaro that if he could make his 917 identical to the 917 that was made street legal in the 1970s, he could register it. And so Roddaro did, eventually completing the car—made of 95 percent Porsche parts and certified by Porsche as the 37th, and final 917 ever built—into something that could roam Monaco.
How was Rossi able to register his though in the first place? Motor1 has a few more details:
In the 1974, Count Rossi, part of the Martini & Rossi company that sponsored plenty of Porsche racecars, bought a used 917 from the company. With minor modifications like adding mufflers, he was somehow able to convince the DMV in Alabama to allow the car for road use, according to Historic Motorsport Central. He was then able to use that paperwork to make the vehicle legal for European street use.
Which brings us back to Roddaro, who, after some paperwork, was eventually able to do the same, according to Porsche.
Back in Monaco, after two months of painstaking bureaucratic procedure, mountains of paperwork sourced and sorted, endless hoops jumped through, the job was finally done. Claudio’s 917K, resplendent in authentic Martini racing livery and period sponsor decals, now also sported a very fetching pair of number plates.
The car now has brake and turn signal lights, as you can see in photos, but not much else beyond that. Its flat 12 still produces 600 horsepower, which is terrifying for a car that weighs less than half that of a 911 GT3. Former Jalopnik writer Ben Wojdyla also makes a good point:
Sometimes race cars should stay race cars?