1969 Porsche 917 (Image: Mathieu Heurtault via Gooding & Company)Enlarge Photo
The 1971 movie Le Mans is essential viewing for anyone with gasoline in their veins. It's a turgid, plot-less nightmare for everyone else, but if there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that Steve McQueen, the Tag Heuer Monaco watch he wears, and the Porsche 917 he drives are all effortlessly cool.
Bidding for that 917, which goes under the hammer at Gooding and Company's Monterey auction later this year, will be anything but cool.
Quite aside from the fact the 917 is already a priceless racer and its Gulf color scheme among the most iconic in racing, the McQueen association means that someone, somewhere will pay a good amount of money for it. Having battled off several other bidders each offering other enormous sums for the privilege of ownership.
Unfortunately, this association means the car will probably never turn another wheel in anger. That fate is almost certainly destined too for the $1.375 million 1970 Porsche 911 McQueen also drives in the movie, or the $11 million Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage that was used as a camera vehicle. The Porsche 917 itself had history long before the movie--it's believed to be the first 917 raced, back in 1969 at Spa Francorchamps--but the McQueen link will make the sale.
As McQueen is no longer with us to chat, and the Porsche is expected to fetch a comfortable eight-figure sum, if you want a dose of Le Mans cool, you'll have to scrape together a few thousand bucks for a Monaco watch. Or, come to think of it, a few hundred for a replica Gulf leather jacket...