Hello again folks, I've been a bit quiet of late, I was on holiday last week and this week working with the computer has been less than easy due to some bizarre update which has disabled Chrome, so here I am, blasting you from 2008 with Firefox (it really sucks balls).
2008 is also when I picked up the subject of today's review. That subject is the 1971 Porsche 917LH, driven at Le Mans by Gerard Larrousse and 'Quick Vic' Vic Elford. At this point in time the 917 was an extremely well-developed car and when the flag dropped at 3pm on Saturday June 12th (coincidentally the first year with what the French called the 'Indianapolis' start, which is to say a rolling start, as opposed to everyone scrambling like madmen to their cars) three long tail 917s made up the first three slots on the grid. Unfortunately glory was not to come by the Langheck variations and a short tailed car (917K #22 of Helmut Marko and Gijs Van Lennep) would take the honours this time out. 1971 was also the swansong of the 5.0 Litre sport class which was outlawed by the FIA at the end of the year, so 1971 was the last Le Mans for the thunderous flat 12 917s, they would however go on to glory in Can-Am, but that's a story for another day (note to self, must buy that Exoto 1/18 Mark Donohue Sunoco 917 that I saw on eBay this morning).
So let's get down to business shall we, the Auto Art 1/18 Porsche 917LH, resplendent in its Martini livery, driven at Le Mans by the aforementioned pairing of Larrousse and Elford.
Design and Accuracy: 9/10
A very good showing all round. I think the was the start of Auto Art's 'ridiculous detail' phase and boy can you tell. Everything has been rendered in minute detail, the livery is perfect, sponsor decals are spot on and the little things that really set apart a great model from a good model (the little indicators in the headlight cowling are a prime example) are all present and correct.
Fit and Finish: 9/10
Again, really excellent. The 917LH, by virtue of its long tail configuration has an absolutely MASSIVE engine cover (I'm not calling it a hood, that's what you cover your head with, heathens!), on inferior quality models a single casting of that size will have panel gaps the size of a small country (I have a Bburago E-type, you can see daylight), in this case everything lines up more or less perfectly (the rear end shows a bit of misalignment, but that's the result of me opening it a few too many times).
A very solid eight. The little bonnet on the front comes off to reveal a very intricately detailed compartment. Both doors open wide for a great view of the interior, the engine bay is extremely well detailed, replete with spare tyre and the engine cooling fan actually works (although I only found this out when I took these pictures). This would have been a nine, but I figured if I knocked the Delta down one point for not having functioning suspension, I should do the same for this one. Ok, a race car this low to the ground would have had a scale suspension travel of about a hair, but it's nice to dream right?
Casual snooping on eBay reveals prices ranging from $100 to $160, with models signed by Elford and Larrousse into the $220 range. To my eyes that's not bad value at all for an incredibly detailed little car. Sure it ain't cheap, but as with most Auto Art models in my experience you really are getting a whole lot more for your money than with some other makes of model.
There were five on US eBay when I checked the prices and casting your net further afield reveals at least a dozen at any given time on European pages. Theoretically the model is no longer in production, but I think that Auto Art made quite a few, so it should be no great hardship to find one if you are so inclined.
Final Score: 40/50
I think that the 917 is a fantastic piece of automotive brilliance. Porsche pulled out all the stops. The same goes for the model, Auto Art really know how to put these little things together and I think that this is a great addition to my collection. Plus it's part of two of my most important collection themes, Porsche and Martini so for me it was a no brainer to buy it. The fact that the 917LH was ultimately an unsuccessful permutation of an extremely successful car makes it all the more endearing to me, it's all well and good to have a winner in your collection, but a loser is just that little bit more interesting.
Unfortunately for now that's me all Martini'd out. Next week I'll be back to more prosaic road cars, however hopefully over the weekend I'll be able to take some more shots of some recent additions and maybe a couple of Jaegermeisters...