This Porsche 917 prototype could bring up to $6M at auction

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A singular Porsche 917 with a rich pedigree in development and competition is set to cross RM Sotheby's auction block next month in Paris. Auctioneers estimate it could fetch $4.8 to $5.9 million.

The 1970 Porsche 917/10 is the first Can Am Spyder and wears chassis No. 001. This prototype is one of only 13 917/10 chassis built and was used as a test bed for Porsche's early-1970s factory racing efforts – helping to create the legend of the 917.

The racecar's feats include 23 straight testing days in Porsche's test center in Weissach, Germany, and a year-and-a-half testing program where Jo Siffert, Mark Donohue, Willi Kauhsen, and Herrman Mimler cycled through behind the wheel.

During its long testing duties, this 917 used a range of engines, including the turbocharged flat-12-cylinder, 4.5-liter turbo, 5.0-liter turbo, and 5.0-liter naturally aspirated. The 917 also had five body designs during its aero drills.

In its current state, it has a flat-12 making more than 600 horsepower, a five-speed manual transmission, its original tube frame, and "shovel nose" body styling, recalling its look during aero testing in Weissach in '71.

This chassis also raced with some success in the 1970s, finishing second at the Hockenheim Interserie, eighth at a race at Riverside, fourth overall at another Hockenheim event, and sixth at a Nürburgring race.

It was in storage from the mid-1970s until 1997, when it underwent restoration. Naturally, the auction house suggests this prototype would be "an ideal weapon" for vintage racing, and it's been run at Goodwood, Brands Hatch, Daytona, and other historics since 2000.

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