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The Porsche 917 is one of the most insane automotive creations ever dreamt up by humanity, offering a performance level that remains as impressive today as it was during the 1970s, when it dominated events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Some iterations were tuned to deliver as much as 1,580 horsepower, enabling them to rocket to 60 mph in well under 3.0 seconds and attain speeds of more than 240 mph.
You had to be pretty brazen to race one flat out, kind of like what the team at Icon Engineering must have been to take on the challenge of recreating the magic of the 917 in the form of this superb replica. The car is now in the final stages of development, after an extensive 5-year reverse engineering process based on British racing driver David Piper’s original 1969 917, and if all goes to plan should be available for order in 2017.
The aim of the project has always been to develop the replica to be at home on both the street and race track, so there have been some changes from the original 917’s specification to allow it to receive regulatory approval for street use. Of course, should the customer desire a track-only version, Icon Engineering says it can deliver a replica that’s true to the original spec, not no engine and transmission.
All of the design was handled using CAD, starting with the fiberglass body shell, then replicating the aluminum tubular structure, and then designing jigs to manufacture the structure and suspension components to a tolerance of 2.0 millimeters. The next stage was designing the cockpit, oil and fuel systems, as well as more detailed fiberglass components such as the internal air ducts. Should there be demand for it, Icon Engineering is even prepared to offer carbon fiber construction instead of fiberglass.
In the powertrain department, Icon Engineering recommends customers use a Porsche engine, though this is mostly for authenticity. The company states that the engine bay is big enough to fit the flat-12 engines used in some of the original 917s, so theoretically it could fit most engines. Icon Engineering is even looking into offering an electric version at some point, with the battery to sit in the expansive engine bay.
Icon Engineering, which is based in the United Kingdom, plans to offer its replica as a rolling chassis, priced from £95,000 (approximately $ 117,275). That includes the laminated glass windows, magnesium wheels, suspension, brakes, dashboard and electrical harness.
For a turnkey car, the company will have to discuss the engine and transmission combination the customer desires. Icon Engineering points out that the price of original air-cooled Porsche engines have soared in recent years due to the strong demand for collector cars and their parts. However, the more modern—and more affordable—water-cooled engines can also be installed.
You’d be lucky to find an original Porsche 917 for sale—and even if you did it would cost you tens of millions of dollars. Icon Engineering’s replica is an interesting, reasonably priced alternative, especially for anyone with a longing for nostalgia or perhaps jaded by modern supercars.
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