Many of you may think the 917's story ended in 1973 with Can-Am changing the rules. Maybe you remember the Talladega speed-record runner in 1975.

There was another one a full 6 years after that.

The reason the 917 fell out of racing series was because of engine regulations. All of the races it was made for ended up limiting displacement. By the end of it, it was running 5L engines, up from 4.5 it was originally built with.

We can thank Group C for bringing this one back.

For 1981, a year before the Group C regulations began, the ruling bodies allowed teams to run the larger engines that were coming to make sure they were fully fleshed out. Porsche itself used this time to test the upcoming 956 and its new turbocharged engine.

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A plucky group well known for modifying Porsches decided to take a 917 out of retirement. Enter Kremer.

You may recognize that name from the famous 935's that dominated racetracks around the world. Personally the 935 K3 (K for Kremer) is one of my favorites (and some others on this site have quite an affinity for it as well *cough* philipilihp *cough*).

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Business end of a 935 K3:

The story goes that Kremer actually knew the 917 pretty well inside and out as it had previously done a full restoration for a customer. They found this chassis and got to work. Knowing that the 917 had been so dominant a decade earlier, they figured it probably still had a shot.

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They did end up beefing up the frame now that cars were running with sticky tires and stuck with the 5L engine. With cars having a lot of power in Group C they knew they needed to get as much out as they could. Now beefing up the frame did add some weight; the chassis went from 50kg to 65kg. I’m personally amazed it was so dang light in the first place!

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Now Kremer knew they needed to make some aerodynamic changes as well. Ground effects was a thing now and whoever could use it best had a massive advantage. It’s one of the reasons the 956/962 was so dominant in the end. Unfortunately ground effects weren’t well understood and Kremer didn’t even have time to put the car in a windtunnel to test, so they just went off hunches. This lead to the adjusted bodywork you see here along with the full wing at the back.

Turns out their hunches actually slowed the car down dramatically at LeMans. It was slower on the Mulsanne straight than ever before. Not a good sign for the success of this car.

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At it’s first race - LeMans it started in 18th place and DNF’d after severing an oil line. The original sponsors (Malardeau and BP) bailed. Of course that would be the start of more Porsche domination at LeMans with the 956's first win there.

Kremer got the car ready for their next race at Brands Hatch, now putting their name on the side of the car. This race proved to be much better for the car. It sat at 3rd for the start of the race.

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The car actually moved up to 1st place for a good portion of the race! (Probably a sign that the car was generating too much downforce for LeMans as Brands Hatch is a much twistier course - more downforce=more drag=lower top speeds).

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Of course this is a sad story for our hero. The car broke some suspension components and DNF’d. It’s a sad story for it seems if Kremer just had more testing time they could’ve worked out the kinks and made it a real competitive car again.

It’s almost like if Michael Jordan decided to come out of retirement but barely got in shape beforehand. You could tell he had some skills, but after a few games you’d be tired of seeing your hero get dunked on.

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Thus ended the Kremer 917. It never raced again, and nearly had a shining spot firmly securing the 917 as one of the greatest racecars of all time. I still think it’s near the top, but its short life may have dropped it down a few pegs.

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Now this specific model is quite excellent. This might be the best model I’ve seen from Spark in 1:43 (TEAM 1:43 WHOOP WHOOP). The details are amazing and the proportions are right on. I also tried not to handle this as much as possible because the small bits look so fragile. Oh yeah and above- turbofan wheel covers! Love em.

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Hope you enjoyed learning about the last 917 and enjoyed looking at this excellent model from Spark.

Oh yeah one final thing - this is the first thing I’ve ‘sniped’ off EBay. Waited until the last 8 seconds and submitted my bid about $10 higher than what was there. Turns out the next highest bid would’ve won it anyways. I almost feel bad. Also Replicarz always has good stuff to bid on on their EBay site. Your wallet’s been warned.

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Cheers!