There is hardly a more iconic racing car than Porsche’s 917. It was extremely successful in its day, and delivered the kind of speed never thought possible at tracks like La Sarthe and Daytona. Only about 50 were ever built in-period from 1968 to 1973, and only one of them was ever converted to road car specification. Obviously there’s no way you’re going to touch a real deal 917 race car for anything less than eight figures. So you may as well build your own, right?
If you know what you’re doing when it comes to metal chassis fabrication and fiberglass, the idea of building your own is hardly the work of a moment, but it’s certainly not impossible. Icon Engineering over in the UK is just a pair of guys who threw this thing together in a shed, powered by a 964 engine. And they’re willing to build you your own if you want to pony up about $183,000. Is there anything on the road today for one hundred and eighty grand that can even come close to the presence and performance of a 917?
When the chassis itself weighs in at just over a hundred pounds, you’re not going to need an all-out 1,000 horsepower engine to go quickly. The 917K is one of those giant killers that took the fight to Ferrari in its day, and won. Even today the car looks like it comes from another planet, and I can’t even imagine what it would be like to drive. Sadly, at 6’3″ there’s no way I’d even fit in Icon’s version to find out.
It is amazing to me that this car is basically a new design from the ground up, but to perfectly replicate a car built decades ago. There’s no way this new one isn’t faster than an original around the track, as it has beefier components, better brakes, and a more modern engine. The lightly modified 964-based 3.6-liter engine makes a tick under 300 horsepower, which is certainly shy of the original 917s 5-liter, but this engine doesn’t cost a million and a half to build.
You know, this would be a whole lot cooler to use for a trackday or a weekend driver than a new 911 Turbo S, and likely faster to boot. If you need more power, Icon will turbocharge the car for you anyway.