The year is 1972. The Porsche 917 had effectively been kicked out of Le Mans and the World Sportscar Championship due to rule changes. Porsche was not interested in creating a 3.0 liter F1 style engine that the new rules dictated, so they took there engineering skills across the pond to compete in what is arguably the greatest racing series of all time... Can-Am.
Can-Am cars were governed by the FIA group 7 category. Governed may be a strong word considering that the cars only had to have two seats, bodywork enclosing the wheels, and meet basic safety standards. There were also no restrictions on engine capacity. This lead to a displacement war among early Can-Am cars which peaked in 1971 with the McLaren M8F’s 8 liter (494 cubic inch) all-aluminum V8, making around 750 hp.
If Porsche was going to be competitive in Can-Am they needed more power than the existing NA 4.5 liter V12 was capable of. They tested a massive NA 7.2 liter V16 but it was too heavy/ungainly. Porsche decided to go a different direction, building a 5 liter flat-12 fed by two massive turbochargers. The end result was a engine that made around 850 hp in race trim at 1.3 bar of boost, but with the turbos set to kill the car made around 1000 hp in qualifying.
Keep in mind that the car only weighed 767 kg (1690 lbs).
Porsche weren’t just competitive, they destroyed the competition, ending McLaren’s 5 year dominance of the series.
This model is made by Minichamps and is my first foray into the company’s lineup. You all may recognize it as dtg11 aquired one recently which led me on to Diecast Select’s massive sale. I left the website with 2 new cars (that I don’t have shelf space for, oops). This thing is gorgeous.
All the details are there. The paint, lettering, and logos are really well done. Paint lines are crisp and even the tiny “stickers” are legible. The body panels fit together really well with no awkward rubbing or panel gaps. The tube frame is nicely rendered and looks properly metallic. The interior isn’t short on details either with a full gauge set, accurate shifter, and fabric belts.
Well if we’re going to compare it to something, it should be another Can-Am car, so I brought out my GMP McLaren M8B high-wing. The level of detail is pretty close between the two, but the only place where I think the 917 might be a little lacking is where the M8B excels, the engine. The GMP M8B has real metal velocity stacks, which IMO are the most gorgeous thing I’ve seen in a model outside of a $400 CMC. The engine bay of the 917 looks good and, having seen 917s in real life, is accurate. The 917 motor is not a tremendously pretty thing, it’s covered in ugly yellow fiberglass cooling shrouds in real life too. The intake runners look a bit plastic-y, but still good overall.
All in all, it’s a great model. I will definitely be looking at more Minichamps models in the future, as the detail level to cost ratio is pretty solid. Even more so considering it only cost $60 and shipping was free! The 917 has easily earned it’s place as one of the pinnacle pieces of my collection, and it looks mighty good sitting next to the M8B.
Wait didn’t you say you bought two cars?
Yes, yes I did. Review coming soon.